Many factors contribute to that usage. One factor is the continuing attempt by the tobacco industry to target the African American community by maintaining a positive image and garnishing public support by supporting cultural events and making contributions to minority higher education institutions, elected officers, civic and community organizations and scholarship programs. The tobacco industry invests millions of dollars in advertising targeting the African American community. One study found that three African American publications – Ebony, Jet and Essence- receive proportionately higher profits from cigarette advertisements than did other magazines. Further adding fuel to the fire, the United States Surgeon General reported that sixty-six percent of cigarette advertisements in African American magazines were for menthol cigarettes.
The results of tobacco use among African Americans are devastating. Each year, more African Americans die from diseases caused by smoking than from murders, AIDS, drug and alcohol abuse, and car crashes combined. The According to the National African American Tobacco Prevention Network, 47,000 African Americans die each year from a smoking- related disease. An estimated 1.6 million African Americans who are now under the age of eighteen will become regular smokers and of those smokers, 500,000 will eventually die of a smoking-related disease.
A breakdown of the statistics from the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion reveals that: