Tobacco ads target bisexual women, blacks, Hispanics

Man sitting on side of highway vaping.

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2 min read

Certain minority groups, including bisexual women and people of color, are more likely to be exposed to vaping and tobacco ads than their heterosexual white peers, according to a study co-authored by researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

In the study, lead author Andy Tan and his colleagues analyzed data on 18- to 24-year-olds who participated in the U.S. Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study in 2013 and 2014. The participants answered questions about their recollection of seeing ads for cigarettes, e-cigarettes, cigars, and smokeless tobacco, as well as demographic variables such as race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation.

The study found that bisexual women and people of color had significantly higher prevalence of recalled exposure to the ads, with bisexual women of color having the highest exposure rates.

“The tobacco industry’s advertising affects certain vulnerable groups more than others—young adults, women, sexual minorities, and people of color,” said Tan, assistant professor of social and behavioral sciences at Harvard Chan School, in a Dec. 19, 2019 Yahoo Lifestyle article. “We need better vigilance on the industry’s unfair marketing practices and support for these groups to prevent tobacco use and help them quit successfully.”