The Take Down: Earl Fowlkes | Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
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In Conversation with Earl Fowlkes Jr.

In this edition of The Take Down, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids’ Gustavo Torrez interviews Earl D. Fowlkes Jr., President/CEO of the Center for Black Equity. He founded the organization to bring together and promote a multinational network of Black LGBTQ Pride and community-based organizations.

Earl is a longtime tireless advocate for the health of Black and LGBTQ+ communities — two groups the tobacco industry has a notorious history of targeting. Tactics targeting these communities have included direct advertisements, organizational sponsorships, promotional events and even free samples. As a result, both suffer from disproportionately high tobacco use and its associated health consequences.

In this conversation, Earl discusses the toll of tobacco use on Black and LGBTQ+ communities, increasing awareness about Big Tobacco’s targeting tactics, providing equitable and tailored cessation resources, the impact of the FDA’s proposed rule to eliminate menthol cigarettes, and more. Watch the conversation to learn more about how we can reduce tobacco-related health disparities in these communities.


Black Pride events were going smoke-free before anyone else was doing it. As far as I know, we were one of the first organizations and group of Prides to say, ‘No, we’re not taking tobacco money, we’re going to create smoke-free zones,’ to help create a healthy environment.