For decades both the African-American and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities have been marked as “easy targets” by the tobacco industry, particularly menthol cigarette producers. R.J. Reynolds’s own internal marketing plans revealed their sentiments about LGBT people. They labeled a Bay Area marketing campaign targeted at them “Project SCUM.” Clearly the name alone highlights their contempt for a community that has become hooked on their products at rates that are twice that of the general population.
Big Tobacco’s “gateway” cigarettes still remain on the market even though we’ve grown up in the era of the “Truth Campaign” and witnessed the millions of dollars Big Tobacco has paid to their victims for decades of deception and fraud. The consequences are dire, particularly for black and gay youth.This article was originally published in Global Grind.