APA effort aims
to reduce smoking
Ethnic minorities are among those most strongly targeted by the tobacco industry’s marketing tactics, according
to data from the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention. For example, the industry
reaches out to African-Americans with
campaigns involving menthol cigarettes,
which are especially popular in this group.
It also markets cigarettes to Hispanics,
American Indians and Alaska Natives with
brand names like Rio, Dorado and American
Spirit, to name some of its tactics.
To counter such ploys and to help
promote health among ethnic minority
populations, APA’s Health Disparities
Initiative, headed by Lula Beatty, PhD,
former director of the special populations
office at the National Institute on Drug
Abuse, is involved in the following efforts:
• Developing an APA action plan.
In December 2012, APA hosted a
multidisciplinary conference in Washington, D.C.,
to help APA develop a plan to strengthen, expand
and enhance its efforts to prevent and treat tobacco
use in health priority populations. The conference
resulted in 130 recommendations on education
and training; materials, resources and publications;
partnerships and collaborations; research; advocacy
and policy; and funding and reimbursement. For
more on the conference, visit www.apa.org/topics/
• Creating a mobile app. With a grant from the
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, APA
is developing an app to help psychologists and
other health care practitioners find and implement
evidence-based practices to reduce tobacco use
among underserved populations. It will include
information on smoking and tobacco use in different
demographic groups; links to best practices; and case
examples of psychologists who work in smoking
prevention and cessation.
A prototype of the app is expected later this year.
• Building a best-practices network. APA also is
developing a Web-based network of best practices,
featuring content similar to that on the app, but with
more detailed information on health disparities in
smoking and tobacco use.
• Speaking out to FDA. In November, APA
endorsed a research-based petition to FDA along
with 24 other groups calling for a ban on menthol
cigarettes because of their potential to lure in new
smokers and keep others hooked.
— TORI DEANGELIS