Mr. Nweke is the project director for Keeping Our Lungs Safe (KOLS)
He is on a mission to end tobacco industry exploitation: “The reduction in the sales of tobacco products and exploitation of the African American community”.
KOLS (Keeping Our Lungs Safe) is a project funded by the California Tobacco Control Program that aims to reduce tobacco-related health disparities among the African/Black communities. Our goal is to promote health equity through community education and policy change.
KOLS engages concerned community members in activities to facilitate the implementation of smoke-free faith-based campuses, educating our youth about the dangers of smoking and smoke-free multi-unit housing. Additionally, KOLS seeks to inform our elected officials about flavored tobacco products.
For decades, the tobacco industry has preyed on the African American community. The KOLS team pointed out some facts in her interview with KROJ 101.5 FM Radio OLLIN. The tobacco industry buys off some African American leaders leaving them unable to support bills and acts that will affect the sale of tobacco products in African American neighborhoods. A good example of this can be seen in 2009 when the then President Barack Obama signed the Tobacco Control Act which banned all flavored cigarettes apart from the menthol flavor which is what is smoked by 80% of African Americans. This act protected the health of most Americans but left the African American community still vulnerable. Tobacco products are responsible for killing approximately 45,000 African Americans every year, that is about 1 million African Americans every 20 years. More facts can be seen in the paper,” Smoking With The Enemy” and the documentary “Black Lives Black Lungs”. This has made KOLS to focus on the ban of all tobacco products especially menthol cigarettes.