Marketing Tobacco to LGBTQ+ Communities

In the United States, LGBTQ+ people are about two times more likely than straight people to take up smoking. Tobacco companies know this and work hard to make sure it continues.

The tobacco industry has increased cigarette sales by targeting the LGBTQ+ community. They do this by sponsoring events, ads, bar promotions, and giveaways. In the 1990s, a well-known tobacco company targeted the LGBTQ+ community in San Francisco with a marketing plan it called “Project SCUM,” short for “Project Subculture Urban Marketing.” This scheme was designed to appeal to the rebellious, nontraditional characteristics of the LGBTQ+ community.

Tobacco companies also have sponsored pride events and given money to LGBTQ+ and HIV/AIDS organizations. The tobacco companies knew that their financial support would create a new generation of smokers when so many people were starting to reject smoking. The tobacco industry is not an ally to the LGBTQ+ community.

Tobacco companies may try to mislead you. It’s one of the only effective ways they can get people to start using a product known to kill people. If you are aware of their activities, you can be strong against them.

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