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Gay tobacco ads come out of the closet

BMJ 2003; 327 doi: (Published 31 July 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;327:296
  1. Gavin Yamey, deputy physician editor

    Smoking causes more deaths in America than AIDS, drug overdoses, suicide, homicide, and car crashes combined. Gay men are at particularly high risk of being killed by tobacco, as almost half ofgay men smoke (American Journal of Public Health 1999;89: 1875-8). How did the tobacco industry gain such a stranglehold over the gay community?

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    Nothing to celebrate: is the gay community “an area of opportunity” for tobacco giant Philip Morris?


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    The Altria advertisement in Pride03

    One theory points the finger at the industry's subtle campaign to court gay men. Since the early 1990s tobacco companies have quietly advertised cigarettes in gay media, contributed to gay organisations, and sponsored gay community events.

    These activities have given the tobacco industry legitimacy among gay men. Yet the industry hasbeen reluctant to publicly acknowledge its gay love affair.

    Two recent studies of internal industry documents show that Philip Morris, America's biggest tobacco seller, devised a strategy to target gay men …

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