Need a movement for environmental justice on tobacco

Do we need an environmental campaigner for justice for tobacco?

danger-smokingEnvironmental justice is a social movement based on the belief that every person, regardless of race, income, gender, and religion has the right to a clean and healthy environment, regardless of where they live, work, learn, play and pray. The focus is on the equitable distribution of environmental benefits and burdens.

Tobacco consumption hinders our community in Alameda County on healthy. Tobacco-related deaths are the leading cause of death for Americans and residents of Alameda County. In Alameda County, smoking rates have dropped tremendously over the past 20 years, with more than 20 percent in 1988 to 12 percent today, and tobacco-related deaths dropped accordingly.

As well as the environmental justice issues, the benefits of such a reduction in tobacco consumption were not evenly distributed throughout our community. Many racial / ethnic groups continue to smoke at higher rates than whites, get sick more often, the consumption of tobacco and die earlier than white and middle district. For example, throughout California, African-Americans tobacco smokes at higher rates than the population average, and die early from tobacco use.

Why there are huge, predictable differences in the racial / ethnic group suffers from tobacco-related diseases and dying from the same disease? These differences are not a coincidence, but these differences are only the results of many individual choice.

These differences are largely the result of two things: the target marketing of youth in low-income community’s color of the tobacco companies, and the decision or inaction of local, state and federal government over the health of young people in low-income communities of color.

Tobacco marketing is now extremely targeted to youth in low-income communities of color and the tobacco companies spend $ 12 billion a year on advertising. Tobacco products are sold in local sales and youth media, and more aggressively reaching their intended audience.

Government policy decisions create the urban and social environment in which we live. Some examples of government decisions or omissions that affect tobacco use include: FDA does not regulate choosing menthol cigarettes, local jurisdictions clustering of low-income and communities of color in areas without grocery stores and a higher proportion of corner stores that focus on selling tobacco, alcohol and snacks, as well as the unequal application of the laws of such tickets only certain people for smoking in a smoke-free outdoor areas.

With all these barriers and intractable problems, what can we do? As individuals or organizations, we can support the extensive smoking signs so that everyone can remind smokers not to smoke in smoke-free zones.

We can support local rules retailers who hold responsibility for the privilege of selling tobacco in our communities. We can also support local rules that tobacco products are sold in our communities, so that fruits and flavoring tobacco products are not available to our young people.

We all play a role in creating a healthy community for all.

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