Health Disparities Related to Commercial Tobacco and Advancing Health Equity
Health equity means that all people have a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible.
Achieving health equity requires:
Valuing every person and their health fairly
Addressing problems with systems in our environment, unfair practices, and unjust conditions that can weaken the health of specific population groups
Working with different population groups in specific, sensitive ways to address health conditions that affect them
A commitment to health equity involves understanding health disparities related to commercial tobacco* and factors that cause these disparities. Several factors connect commercial tobacco with higher levels of disease, disability, and death in different population groups. For example:
- The tobacco industry uses tailored marketing and advertising to target some groups and communities.
- Tobacco companies use flavors to entice specific groups to try their harmful products.
- The pressures of discrimination, poverty, and other social conditions can increase commercial tobacco use and make health problems worse.
- Population groups need more protections from exposure to secondhand smoke.
- Some groups encounter barriers to health care and treatment for tobacco use and dependence.
These policies, practices, and conditions affect many Americans—yet they don’t work the same way in every community or for every population group. Disparities in commercial tobacco use, secondhand smoke exposure, related health problems, and access to treatment can exist based on where people live, the type and amount of employment and health insurance they have, and other social and demographic factors such as race, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, disability status, level of education, income, and/or behavioral health status.