By Samantha Karam, Staff Writer, and Alec Stone, ONS Public Affairs Director

Nurses Have an Obligation to End Racism

Along with many other healthcare organizations, including ONS, last week the American Nurses Association (ANA) took a bold stand against racism, calling it a public health crisis. On June 12, 2020, ANA President Earnest Grant shared how racism is embedded in health care and what nurses should do to end it.

The Code of Ethics for Nurses obligates nurses to be allies and to advocate and speak up against racism, discrimination, and injustice. This is nonnegotiable,” Grant said. “One of the things that I've always said is I think management should be reflective of the people we care for. So, [as a healthcare system] if you look at your management team and they are all white, then there's something wrong, especially if most of the patients that you care for are from the black and brown communities.”

Grant urged nurses everywhere to educate themselves on racial bias and its role in health care and to use their status as the most trusted profession to speak up. Nurses have a leading voice in changing the perception. To learn how ONS is making a difference, or to get involved, visit the ONS Center for Advocacy and Health Policy or check out ONS’s resources on cancer health disparities in ONS Voice, Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing and Oncology Nursing Forum, and the Oncology Nursing Podcast. 

Big Tobacco Manipulates Pandemic for Money

Big Tobacco is using the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic as another weapon in its arsenal to misrepresent both the impact of the use of tobacco products and the global pandemic. Ultimately, these companies are trying to sustain and increase their share of an audience whose use of their product is damaging their health. Truth Initiative, a nonprofit organization committed to ending tobacco use, explained how marketing during the public health crisis has allowed Big Tobacco to disguise those tactics.

  • Tobacco giant Altria donated millions to fight racial inequality but continues predatory marketing of menthol to African Americans
  • Puff Bar, an e-cigarette company, marketed its products to teens
  • JUUL, which is partially owned by Altria, requested dismissal or delay requested dismissal or delay of several lawsuits against it

Truth Initiative noted the disproportionately high rates of tobacco-related death in African American communities, as well as COVID-19 incidence. Additionally, tobacco industry leaders have a long history of financially compensating African American lawmakers.  

Disposable e-cigarettes have grown in popularity in response to regulatory moves and Puff Bar is now the most popular disposable e-cigarette among young people,” Truth Initiative wrote. “Of the young people using disposable products, nearly half are using Puff Bar (42%).”

ONS and its member advocates are taking a stand in the smoking cessation legislative and regulatory community, and you can get involved too. Learn more about tobacco regulatory issues on the Oncology Nursing Podcast.