National Hispanic Heritage month kicked off this week. It’s a time to celebrate the many contributions and the important presence of Hispanic people in America. It’s also a time to embrace inclusion and work towards better understanding and addressing the health disparities in Wisconsin.
According to the CDC “Tobacco products are advertised and promoted disproportionately to racial/ethnic minority communities. Tobacco companies seek to appeal to the Hispanic population through branding, financial contributions, and targeted advertising.”
As a member of the Wisconsin Hispanic Latino Tobacco Prevention Network (WHLTPN), I’ve been involved in recent efforts to address the targeting of primarily Latina/o communities on the South Side of Milwaukee through tobacco advertising. Through the Network’s participation in the Wisconsin Retail Assessment Program (WRAP), we have learned that there are differences in the ways tobacco products are marketed in our communities, including a higher rate of menthol promotions, tobacco placement near candy and promoted in outdoor ads.
Together, those practices result in higher smoking rates in our community. The WHLTPN is working to bring awareness to these practices and also to promote the enforcement of existing content neutral advertising ordinances which limit the amount of tobacco advertising content that can be displayed in a store’s windows.
Efforts like this and many others will help bring awareness to the need to address health disparities for Hispanics in Wisconsin and also reduce health disparities. Collaboratively, we are working to create a better life for Latinos and welcome the community’s support of our efforts during Hispanic Heritage Month and beyond.
Member of the Wisconsin Hispanic Tobacco Prevention Network