R.J. Reynolds' targeting of African Americans: 1988-2000

Am J Public Health. 2003 May;93(5):822-7. doi: 10.2105/ajph.93.5.822.


Objectives: The purpose of this study was to describe RJ Reynolds (RJR) Tobacco Company's strategy for targeting African Americans, as revealed in tobacco industry documents and magazine advertisements.

Methods: The authors searched industry documents to determine RJR's strategies and analyzed magazine advertising during 2 periods: the time of the launch of the company's Uptown cigarette (1989-1990) and a decade later (1999-2000).

Results: RJR's efforts to target the African American market segment existed before and after Uptown, and the company's strategy was largely implemented via other RJR brands. Advertisements featured mentholated cigarettes, fantasy/escape, expensive objects, and nightlife.

Conclusions: To help all populations become tobacco-free, tobacco control practitioners must understand and counter tobacco industry strategies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Advertising / statistics & numerical data*
  • Bibliometrics
  • Black or African American / psychology*
  • Community Participation
  • Health Care Coalitions
  • Humans
  • Leisure Activities / psychology
  • Life Style / ethnology
  • Male
  • Marketing / methods
  • Minority Groups / psychology*
  • Periodicals as Topic / classification
  • Persuasive Communication
  • Philadelphia
  • Self Concept
  • Smoking / ethnology*
  • Smoking / psychology*
  • Smoking Prevention
  • Tobacco Industry / methods
  • Tobacco Industry / organization & administration*
  • White People / psychology