Tobacco companies target poorer neighborhoods with advertising

Prof. Gregory Connolly, director of the Tobacco Control Research Group at HSPH, is quoted in a Boston Globe article about tobacco advertising in Boston. The article notes that storefront tobacco ads are ubiquitous in lower-income neighborhoods, particularly those with higher Hispanic and African American populations. Because tobacco ads have been banned from the airwaves and few are found on billboards, tobacco companies spend a lot of marketing dollars on supplying signs and displays to gas stations and convenience stores.

Connolly and HSPH colleagues recently authored a study in the American Journal of Health Promotion that found tobacco signs were much more prevalent in Dorchester, a lower-income neighborhood of Boston, than in Brookline, a higher-income town nearby. In the Globe article, Connolly says, “Does this marketing demonstrate a targeting of disadvantaged communities? Clearly.”

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