the time that X Cigarettes were being marketed, smoking rates
among African American teenagers were at an all-time low.
Leaders at NAAAPI and COST knew that although the budget for
this cigarette may not have been high, marginal success would
encourage tobacco companies to market similar products. There
were also reports that X cigarettes were being sold in Harlem
in New York City.
the Uptown Coalition for Tobacco Control and Public health
set a precedent in 1990, this new battle was less daunting
for NAAAPI and COST. Michele Williams, Coordinator of the
Women's Tobacco Education Project in Massachusetts, mobilized
people in and around the Boston area by calling, faxing, writing
letters, holding community forums, and utilizing the media.
COST was instrumental in providing church based smoking education,
prevention, and cessation programs.
Boston's Black History Month in February 1995, NAAAPI was
featured because of its victory against Uptown Cigarettes.
NAAAPI leaders helped plan strategies and used the media to
publicize the struggle. Because of NAAAPI's success in organizing
this protest, the manufacturers of X cigarettes received complaints
from all over the country. Although the cigarettes were recalled,
tobacco manufacturers continued to deny that African Americans
were targeted, or that the cigarettes were being distributed
in predominantly African American communities.
battle against X cigarettes, like the struggle against Uptown,
demonstrated four key points:
*Smokers need to be involved in the coalition (they're the
ones who are targeted).
*Youth need to be made aware of how advertisers manipulate
*African American communities must not depend on, and refuse
to be exploited by tobacco companies.
*In order to succeed, collaboration is a must (combining resources).