08172017Headline:

St. Petersburg, Florida

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Chrissie Cole
Chrissie Cole
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Lawsuit Claims Tobacco Companies Targeted African-American Consumers

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A lawsuit filed, Wednesday, against several tobacco companies, alleges the tobacco companies were targeting black consumers.

The suit seeks over $1 billion in damages on behalf of Gloria Tucker of Coral Springs, a black woman whose mother and grandmother both died of health problems related to smoking.

Citing marketing documents from the tobacco companies, the suit claims they used unflattering generalizations about African-Americans and suggested recruiting black smokers through – among other venues – black churches, night- clubs, and traffic court, where they said 75 percent of the pedestrian traffic on weekdays is black. “In addition to placing into the stream of commerce products that defendants knew or should have known were dangerous and defective, they did so with complete and utter disregard for health and human safety, and in a systematic and deliberate manner meant to addict and ultimately kill as many smokers as possible, especially African-Americans, whose lives were cut short by defendants’ reckless and outrageous conduct, including without limitation, the lives of Dorothy Oliver and Annie Mae Swain,” the lawsuit states.

In the suit, it cites government and tobacco company documents that show a higher percentage of billboards advertising tobacco products in black neighborhoods. It also states tobacco companies targeted the black community by paying above market rates for advertising within black-focused publications.