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ClearWay Minnesota (SM), in partnership with ECHO Minnesota, has produced a unique television program warning that secondhand smoke should remain a public health priority for Minnesotans – particularly among Minnesota’s ethnic communities.
Secondhand Smoke in Our Communities will air on public television stations across Minnesota, as well as online, beginning January 15, 2012. Each program will feature guests from Minnesota’s ethnic communities with a goal of helping all Minnesotans understand the dangers of exposure to secondhand smoke. The program will be broadcast in eight languages, including English, Spanish, Hmong, Somali, Karen, Vietnamese, Lao and Khmer.
“Secondhand smoke is harmful to all Minnesotans’ health, but diverse communities experience some of the greatest harm,” said David Willoughby, Chief Executive Officer of ClearWay Minnesota. “Tobacco companies use clever marketing practices to make their dangerous products attractive to these communities. This program offers a distinct way to tell the story of tobacco’s impact in all Minnesota and to educate the specific populations that are most at-risk.”
Tobacco companies spent nearly $200 million in Minnesota in 2008, targeting people based on factors including income, education level, ethnic background or lifestyle. The report Unfiltered: A Revealing Look at Today’s Tobacco Industry gave examples of minority-directed tobacco advertising, and showed that rates of tobacco use among some ethnic communities are greatly outpacing those of the general and Caucasian populations.
Additionally, rates of quitting tobacco use can be substantially lower in these communities. “The impact of tobacco is regressive,” said Willoughby, “with our ethnic and low-income populations facing disproportionate risk.” “ECHO Minnesota’s television program provides a unique venue for bringing important health information to ethnic communities,” said Lillian McDonald, Executive Director of ECHO Minnesota.
“Many Minnesotans who speak limited or no English may be unaware of the dangers of secondhand smoke and tobacco use in general. We are pleased to help bridge that information gap.” Nationwide, secondhand smoke is responsible for more than 40,000 deaths in nonsmokers each year from cancer and heart disease. Secondhand smoke contains 11 known cancer-causing poisons and even more toxins.
“Tobacco’s impact and health risks do not discriminate – but tobacco companies’ marketing efforts do,” Willoughby said. “We need to continue strong public policy efforts together with tobacco prevention and smoking cessation services in the communities targeted most by tobacco companies. Partnering withECHO Minnesota provides an invaluable opportunity to protect the health of all Minnesotans.”
Secondhand Smoke in Our Communities is 20-30 minutes in length. It will air on tpt’s Minnesota Channel (Comcast Channel 202 or 243, depending on location) and is available any time for streaming at www.echominnesota.org. The broadcast schedule is as follows: