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NAACP Anti-Tobacco Policy

WHEREAS, tobacco use remains the number one cause of preventable disease and death in the United States; and

WHEREAS, active and passive exposure to tobacco smoke is projected to contribute to approximately 440,000 deaths in the United States each year; and

WHEREAS, despite lower exposure to tobacco, African-Americans are still more likely than Whites to develop and die from heart disease, lung cancer, and other lung diseases; and

WHEREAS, over the years, there has been enormous progress made in encouraging people to try to quit, largely through the implementation of various smoking cessation policies that underscore the message that smoking is bad; and

WHEREAS, several states have shown that spending between 50 cents and $1.50 per person presenting carefully crafted messages can lower adult smoking rates by 20 to 35% in one year, and decrease the "start smoking" rates among youth by 25 to 50%; and

WHEREAS, 72 percent of African Americans are exposed to secondhand smoke, compared to 50 percent of whites, and 45 percent of Mexican Americans; and

WHEREAS, about 40 percent of people in the U.S. are protected by legislation such as smoke-free workplace laws and dean indoor air acts; and

WHEREAS, many cities and states have enacted increased cigarette taxes and launched public health media campaigns highlighting the negative health consequences of smoking; and

WHEREAS, exposure to tobacco is proven to contribute to a number of chronic diseases including cancer, heart disease, lung disease, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and ultimately death; and

WHEREAS, despite these policy changes and the growing recognition of the dangers of nicotine, about 25 percent of Americans still smoke; and

WHEREAS, African American high school students are increasing their startĀ­ smoking rates more rapidly than young whites; and

WHEREAS, the NAACP recognizes the need to prevent the sale of tobacco products to minors; and

WHEREAS, the results of field studies conducted showed that retailers are continuing to sell tobacco products to minors; and

WHEREAS, the most likely way to prohibit the sale of tobacco. to minors is the enforcement of existing state laws; and

WHEREAS, more needs to be done to ensure that people know WHY to quit, HOW to quit, and WHERE to get support to help with the quitting process; and

WHEREAS, it has been found that tobacco companies disproportionately market their products to the African American community. A one-year study found that major African-American publications received proportionately higher profits from cigarette advertisements than did other magazines. The study also found that these publications had 12% more cigarette advertisements than widespread publications.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP be strongly opposed to the use of smoke and smokeless tobacco products; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP, through its national, regional, and local units, and its members will work to better raise awareness, educate and develop policy and programs on the economic, social, and health effects associated with tobacco use in the African American community; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP instruct its state and local units in techniques to direct more of the state "tobacco settlement monies" to decreasing tobacco use; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP formally develop a comprehensive and long-term strategic plan for sanctions to include fines, restitution, and incarceration, to be included in any legislation and or regulation; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP encourages legislatures to require retailers selling tobacco products to secure and renew a license annually with a fee set high enough to fund programs and enforcement against tobacco sales to minors.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP formally develop a comprehensive, long-term strategy to advocate for maximum use of "Best AntiĀ­ Tobacco Practices" that would achieve the goal of a smoke-free country by employing evidence-based methods to reduce initiation and continuance of the addictive practice; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP discourages the targeted and disproportionate marketing of tobacco products to African Americans and other minorities; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that all NAACP units work at the state and local levels to assure Medicaid funding for nicotine replacement, smoking cessation products, drug abuse services, counseling services; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP support the development of policy that would impose severe sanctions including fines and restitution for retailers that are caught selling tobacco to minors; and

THEREFORE, BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the NAACP commit to eliminating disparities in access to tobacco prevention and cessation services.

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