Objectives: To investigate African Americans' opinions about the philanthropic contributions of the tobacco industry to Black organizations.
Methods: One thousand African Americans were randomly selected using a stratified cluster sample design of 10 U.S. congressional districts represented by African Americans.
Results: Almost two-thirds of African Americans favored accepting tobacco industry philanthropy as long as the recipients do not support smoking. A majority agreed that the tobacco industry gives money to African American communities to improve its image (71.2%), make money (83.2%), and to encourage people to smoke (60.5%). About one-third stated they believed it gave money to help the community (34.4%). Multiple logistic regression showed that women, the college educated, and current smokers were significantly (p<0.05) more likely to favor accepting tobacco industry philanthropy. Multiple logistic regression revealed significant differences by education, smoking status, and selective attitudinal and behavioral variables with regard to tobacco industry philanthropy. The 18-34 age group was significantly less likely to agree that the tobacco industry gives money to help the community, with or without covariate adjustment.
Conclusion: Results of this study are important because despite the perceived benefits to these communities, tobacco industry contributions could mitigate community concerns about tobacco-related diseases, mask their significance, and undermine tobacco control strategies and policies.