Singer and actress Coco Jones is partnering up with DoSomething.org and truth for their latest anti-smoking campaign. Did you know that African-American, low-income and LGBTQ communities are specifically profiled and targeted by tobacco companies? To shine the light on how crazy this statistic is, Coco's campaign centers around an "emoji compatibility" test that uses the same profiling criteria. It really shows how bizarre it all is. To find out more, TWIST caught up with Coco to hear why she was interested in joining this effort, and how you can get involved to. You can check out our exclusive Q & A and her PSA video below
TWIST: Why was it important for you to get involved with this campaign?
Coco Jones: I want to do my part to ensure my fans know about profiling tactics of the tobacco industry. Tobacco disproportionately affects African Americans, people in low-income communities, LGBT individuals and those with mental illness—all a result of profiling by the tobacco industry. The quiz from DoSomething and truth, underscores the fact that tobacco use is more than a public health issue, it's a social justice issue.
TWIST: What's something you learned from this project that you had no idea about before?
CJ: This quiz showed me how the tobacco industry targets you based on who you are, where you live, how much money you make. I had no idea they make such an effort!
TWIST: How do you hope to use your voice to have a positive influence in your community and beyond?
CJ: I hope to use my voice to influence the community to help causes like DoSomething.org and truth. I believe that we can be the generation to end tobacco!
TWIST: What's some advice you could give our readers who want to get involved in causes they care about, but don't know where to start?
CJ: Dosomething.org is a great place to get started. Their website has over 270 different causes you can look into. You should also enlist in the movement to end smoking at thetruth.com; and when you see profiling happening, call it out by tagging #STOPPROFILING.
TWIST: How do you feel young people can help combat peer pressure, especially when it comes to smoking?
CJ: Surround yourself with positive people, people that have the same mindset. If you see your friends doing things that aren't good for them - especially smoking, which harms people, the environment, and animals; don't be afraid to call them out in it! I know I would want my friends to be honest with me! There are so many more beneficial things to do with your time, just find some!
TWIST: Some of our readers may have parents or loved ones who already smoke, that they want to help quit. What's some advice you can recommend to start this conversation?
CJ: Tell them Tobacco-related disease is still the number one cause of preventable death in the U.S. and most smokers want to quit but can’t. Then urge them to check out This is Quitting! It’s a free app that you can download.
Want to get involved? Now through July 15, 2017, you can sign up at DoSomething.org/quiz to find out if a “secret crush” is your perfect match. Unlike most dating quizzes that are all about fun interests, this quiz actually “matches” users based on income, race and sexual orientation, which are the same data points Big Tobacco uses to target people in African-American, low-income and LGBTQ communities.