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Public Health Advocacy Institute

at Northeastern University School of Law

360 Huntington Avenue, 117CU

Boston, MA 02115


You are here: Home > Tobacco Control > Health Equity

Health Equity

Image attributed to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Tobacco companies have long targeted disadvantaged communities with marketing for their deadly products, and this injustice continues today in community stores. Disadvantaged communities today are burdened by a disproportionate number of tobacco stores, more prolific and prominent tobacco advertising in those stores, and more frequent and steeper discounts to tobacco product prices. This onslaught of tobacco marketing in high-minority, low-income communities is a significant driver of the rapidly widening disparities in tobacco use and rates of successful cessation attempts. By no coincidence, low-income and lower-educated groups and those with poor mental health are significantly more likely suffer from tobacco-attributable diseases. The evidence (as detailed further in our resources) unequivocally supports tobacco controls that reduce inequitable exposure to harmful tobacco marketing and inequitable access to tobacco-free spaces.


Tobacco Disparities: Evidence Supports Policy Change
Two fact sheets providing evidence of industry-driven tobacco use disparities resulting from disproportionate exposure to tobacco marketing in the retail environment.

Tailoring Tobacco Control Policy Resources to Overcome the Challenges of Differential Tobacco Retail Density in New York
December 2017 presentation for public health educators providing guidance on how to effectively craft messaging, tailored to either urban or rural communities, on the problem of tobacco retail density.

Leveling the Playing Field: Who's Using, Who's Not and How to Narrow the Gap
January 2016 presentation describing the disparities in New Yorker smoking rates and the need for equity-promoting policies regulating the point of sale of tobacco products.

Disparities Fact Sheet
Fact sheet highlighting the disproportionate exposure to tobacco marketing of youth and disadvantaged communities, including low-income and lower-educated groups.

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