The Two Organizations Collaborate with an Innovative New Program, Aimed at Empowering Black Women Leaders to Lead the Fight Against Tobacco and Vaping Use
Atlanta, GA –Black Women’s Health Imperative (BWHI) has announced that it will launch the SEE-US program (Socially/Emotionally Empowered-Unapologetically Smoke-Free) to educate, train and mobilize Black women on historically Black College and University (HBCU) campuses in the fight against smoking/vaping that will be supported with a $1 million-dollar grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. This program was created in direct response to the predatory marketing tactics of the tobacco/vaping industry that targets young Black women and to raise awareness that smoking-related illnesses are the number one cause of death in the Black community, surpassing all other causes of death, including AIDS, diabetes, cancer and heart disease.
The SEE – US program will build the anti-tobacco/vaping advocacy skills and leadership capacity of female students attending seven HBCU’s (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) that are in the heart of “Tobacco Nation”. The schools chosen for this program include: Tuskegee University, Alabama State University, Southern University, Dillard University, Tennessee State University, Mississippi Valley State University and Jackson State University. Through the program, Black women student leaders will undergo a virtual training program where they will learn advocacy and mobilization strategies, as well as how to counteract smoking as a coping mechanism.
“For years, Big Tobacco and Vaping companies have targeted the black community with slick marketing campaigns that exploit our culture with images of success, accomplishment and beauty. Given that smoking and vaping increases the risk of Covid-19 complications, it is now more critical than ever that we empower young black women with the tools they need to champion the fight against the tobacco/vaping industry from further ravaging our communities. ” said Linda Goler Blount, BWHI CEO and President.
The CDC found that 33% of people who have been hospitalized with COVID-19 are Black. People with lungs damaged by smoking are at an elevated risk for death if they contract the virus, and vaping has been linked to a growth in tobacco use, particularly among teens.
About SEE-US: SEE-US is a program designed to mitigate the rise in tobacco and vape use among Black women 18-24. By harnessing the advocacy of Black women to lead the fight against tobacco and vaping, SEE-US will expose the tobacco/vaping industry for its negligent marketing techniques as a social justice issue. This is especially critical given the disproportionate impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in the Black community.
For more information on Black Women’s Health Imperative, the SEE-US program and other initiatives, visit www.bwhi.org.