On ‘No Menthol Sunday’ faith communities focus on health

On ‘No Menthol Sunday’ faith communities focus on health

May 13, 2022

As part of ongoing work to promote health equity, Multnomah County Health Department’s Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) program encourages local faith leaders to observe No Menthol Sunday on May 15, 2022. No Menthol Sunday, a national observance day led by the Center for Black Health & Equity, is an opportunity for faith leaders to raise awareness about the negative health impacts of vaping, using tobacco and menthol products and ways to improve health outcomes for African Americans.

“We’ve been working for years to keep kids from becoming the next generation of smokers. Big Tobacco hypes menthol and other flavorings to addict kids, especially in the Black community,” said Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury. “No Menthol Sunday is a great way to push back on the marketing and promote what really matters: strong communities and good health.”

For decades, the tobacco industry has intentionally targeted the Black community with predatory marketing. As a result, the Black community has been disproportionately impacted from tobacco use: menthol cigarettes are smoked by Black and African American smokers — both adults and youth — at much higher rates than any other population. And for years the tobacco industry has used menthol to make a smoother, more palatable product that’s easier to smoke and vape. There’s also evidence that menthol makes smoking much harder to quit.

“The tobacco industry’s unethical use of menthol and other flavorings to hook generations of Black and brown youth is reprehensible,” said Jessica Guernsey, MPH, Multnomah County Public Health Director. “And what does the industry think of these valued community members?  Just read the No Menthol Sunday ad quoting a tobacco industry executive: ‘We don’t smoke the s–t, we just sell it. We reserve the right to smoke for the young, the poor, the black and the stupid.’ No Menthol Sunday is an opportunity to fight back against the dishonorable Tobacco Industry. It has caused too many lost friends, aunts, uncles, leaders in the Black/African American community and in every community around the globe. This isn’t just a health issue. This is a racial justice issue.”

For more information on No Menthol Sunday visit: https://www.nomentholsunday.org/

Free help quitting is available by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW, which offers quit coaching and a quit plan, free educational materials, and referrals to local resources

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