Institute addresses tobacco inequities via community outreach

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Yolanda Raymond, Institute for the Advancement of Minority Health staff member, is all smiles as she manages the vendor table during Juneteenth celebrations in the Metro Jackson area.

JANS – During the month of June, the Institute for the Advancement of Minority Health was out in full force raising awareness regarding various health inequities, particularly tobacco usage. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), commercial tobacco is preventing African Americans from achieving optimum health. 

In 2020, 19.4% of Black adults used a tobacco product. Although African Americans, on average, smoke fewer cigarettes, they are more likely to die from smoking-related diseases. Smoking is a major cause of heart disease, cancer, and stroke – the three leading causes of death for African Americans in the U.S. 

Tobacco has had a negative impact on the Black community for centuries. Commercial tobacco crops throughout the South yielded millions in profit due to the unpaid labor of enslaved Africans. Without a free labor force to plant and harvest tobacco, companies began to target Africans Americans to use tobacco products in order to make a profit. Corporations like RJ Reynold used tailored marketing focused on Black communities. Through paid advertisements featuring community icons, sponsorship of cultural events, and financing scholarships for African American students, tobacco has had an unjust and unfair influence on the Black community. 

During Juneteenth activities in Grenada, MS, Thelma Hubbard takes the tobacco survey.

Recent outreach efforts with unhoused residents in Jackson (MS) included the distribution of tobacco cessation information. While participating in Juneteenth celebrations, Institute staff distributed resources and gathered data via a Community Tobacco usage survey. Interested individuals can access the survey via: 

For more information about the Institute for the Advancement of Minority Health and its programs, call (769) 572-5263 or email

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Institute addresses tobacco inequities via community outreach

By Jackson Advocate News Service
July 17, 2023