Minorities And Smoking Of Mice and Menthol The Targeting of African Americans by the Tobacco Industry
1978 AHA More Billboards

“Outdoor advertising reaches ethnic groups better than any other medium aimed at ethnic groups”

Magazine advertisement in Advertising Age for Gannett Outdoor Group (publisher of USA Today)

1988 03 Ebony More Ad Never Settle For Less

Never Settle for Less”

R. J. Reynolds More cigarettes advertisement
Ebony, page 81
March 1988

1989 Student with More On Poster

“More-on” poster

Elementary school student in Oakland, California, with poster he made for DOC counter-advertising poster contest
Photograph by Doug Minkler

“People will see what cigarettes really do to you.”

Video clip of San Francisco TV news story featuring artist Doug Minkler teaching schoolchildren to create DOC counter-advertisements

1978 Kool Ad Wouldnt Have It Any Other Way

“Wouldn’t have it any other way”

Kool magazine advertisement

1988 Model in SuperHealth 2000 Shirt 2

“Super Health 2000” model

DOC t-shirt
Circa 1985

Philip Morris at a college career fair

Four video clips of Alan Blum, MD, interviewing a recruitment representative

1976 Kool Ad We Dont Like Rough Puffs

“Kool! ’Cause we don’t like rough puffs.”

R. J. Reynolds magazine advertisement

1988 Non Smoking African American Couple

Non-smoking African-American couple

Counter-advertisement with no caption by DOC
Circa 1988

Alive with Pleasure, Dead with Disease (1:24:31)

Video clip from Arkansas Department of Health keynote presentation by AB with MC Smoke & Nikki Teen rap video at beginning

The DOC Response

DOC (Doctors Ought to Care) was founded in 1977 by a group of family physicians to counteract the growing use and promotion of cigarettes, alcohol, and other harmful products to teenagers. The organization’s mission remained unchanged during its 25-year effort: to educate the public, especially young people, in humorous and refreshing ways about the major preventable causes of poor health and high medical costs. Through more than 120 chapters in medical schools and family medicine residency training programs, DOC worked in the clinic, classroom, and community to tap the highest level of commitment of every health professional to combat the promotion of lethal lifestyles in the mass media. DOC’s motto: “Laughing the pushers out of town.” Pioneering strategies included the purchase of billboard, bus bench, radio, and TV advertisements that parodied cigarette brand names, including Benson & Heart Attacks, Barfboro, and Fartboro. The group sponsored local, state, and national counter-advertising poster contests and essay competitions (for example, “Should tobacco industry executives be criminally tried for the deaths, diseases, and fires that their products cause?”). DOC also held dozens of protests (known as “house calls”) across the country to mock events sponsored by tobacco companies, most notably the Virginia Slims Women’s Tennis Circuit, which DOC renamed the Emphysema Slims with Billie Jean Butthead and Martina Nosmokanova.

For nearly three decades, DOC worked with communities of color throughout the United States, assisting them in developing innovative school-based and community-based strategies for dealing with the problems of tobacco and alcohol. For example, in 1994 DOC began a collaboration project with Baylor College of Medicine’s Department of Allied Health to implement DOC’s irreverent pro-health approach in the predominantly African-American North Forest Independent School District in Houston, Texas. School leaders, weary and wary of medical schools and schools of public health with grants seeking to use students as research subjects, warmed to DOC’s approach to teach students to use humor and satire to counter the use and promotion of unhealthy products.

“A History of Cigarette Marketing Targeted to African Americans” (1:38:12)

Video of presentation by Alan Blum, MD, at the “Clearing the Air in Communities of Color” conference in Pine Bluff, Arkansas
May 17, 2011

“McSmoke and Nikki Teen” (10:43)

Video clip of anti-smoking rap music video for children

More On: The DOC Response