SET DAY 2020
By: Vonetta Dudley, Bronx Reality Check Manager
On Tuesday October 13th, New York State celebrated Seen Enough Tobacco Day (SET Day), a day where youth and community members were urged to stand up against the marketing tactics of the tobacco industry. This year for SET Day the focus was building more awareness on the negative impact of menthol tobacco products.
The over exposure of menthol tobacco products in our communities normalizes this deadly and addictive product. Tobacco companies add menthol to cigarettes to make them more appealing to new smokers and the youth. According to the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, in New York City, 2 out of 3 young smokers start with menthol or other flavored tobacco products.
Vulnerable communities such as youth, African Americans and the LGBTQAI+ community have historically been targeted by way of the tobacco industry through the marketing of menthol cigarettes. In New York City, African Americans use menthol cigarettes at a rate of 85%. The “cooling sensation” that comes from smoking menthol tobacco products makes it easier to start but harder to quit. The more marketing and product found in these communities, the more opportunities for youth and community members to get hooked to their products.
As we know, the tobacco industry will continue their marketing and targeting towards our most vulnerable communities. It’s imperative that we further our education efforts towards the youth and for whom those tobacco companies prey on. Seen Enough Tobacco Day in NYC and across the state is another way to build more awareness and share the facts about tobacco companies’ manipulative tactics.