Tobacco Free Broome and Tioga: Big Tobacco is exploiting the LGBTQ+ community

Published: Nov. 21, 2022 at 9:23 PM EST
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BINGHAMTON (WBNG) -- According to Tobacco Free Broome and Tioga, a tobacco has company created a marketing plan named Project SCUM, which they said is exploiting people in the LGBTQ+ community.

Reality Check Coordinator for Tobacco Free Broome and Tioga Nikole Hurlbert, said Project SCUM which stands for Subculture Urban Marketing has been using deceptive tactics to infiltrate LGBTQ+ communities by sponsoring pride events, advertising in gay publications, and more in efforts to create lifelong customers.

“Our biggest concerns with this are not only do we want to bring awareness for individuals who do smoke to know about the issues related to the tobacco industry’s manipulative marketing, but were hoping to bring awareness to young people to know that this isn’t just a cool fad that it is bad for your health,” said Nikole Hurlbert.

She said, with the industry’s aggressive marketing of menthol flavored tobacco products, LGBTQ+ individuals are twice as likely to use tobacco products compared to non-LGBTQ+ individuals. She said menthol is not only a flavor, but an addictive which makes smoking easier to start but hard to quit. Hurlbert said Big Tobacco has used their campaign to try to depict tobacco use as a normal part of the day-to-day life of people in the LGBTQ+ community, while also targeting other specific groups.

“The tobacco industry also targeted many specific populations, so currently we are trying to bring awareness to the it’s not just campaign that was launched by the NYS tobacco program which focuses on three specific populations youth LGBTQ+ as well as the African American communities,” said Nikole Hurlbert.

Hurlbert said, in efforts to fight this tobacco free NYS has introduced its third phase of its statewide “It’s Not Just” campaign.

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