No Menthol Sunday, a national observance day led by The Center for Black Health & Equity is an important opportunity to engage faith leaders and their communities in a discussion about how to improve health outcomes for African Americans. Tobacco is still the number one killer of African Americans, and people of faith can play a major role in changing this. Not only do we take this day to encourage congregations and communities to support one another in escaping tobacco addiction, but we also aim to highlight the role of menthol and flavors in particular.
A New Day!
This year’s theme, A New Day!, encourages us to embrace the opportunity to build tobacco-free communities that are healthy and just. Even after years of losing the battle for a comprehensive flavor ban, and after COVID-19 has exacerbated health disparities, we have not lost heart. Isaiah 43:18-19 reminds us to forget the things that are behind us because a new day is upon us! Tomorrow is in the past, and today brings a fresh start. Every day is a new opportunity to advocate for a healthier future that makes menthol and tobacco-related disease a thing of past.
This is fitting guidance as we work to expose the tobacco industry's deceptive practices.The tobacco industry has:
spread unsubstantiated falsehoods about the effect menthol restrictions will have on police interactions
developed aggressive marketing tactics targeting Black communities
addicted a young generation to nicotine through e-cigarettes and vaping products
When it comes to protecting our young people and our most vulnerable communities, we must not grow weary or turn a blind eye!
No Menthol Sunday is the perfect time to raise our consciousness about these important issues. When people of faith remain vigilant, educate youth, and inspire community action, we will begin to move toward total health justice.
Why We Fight
After a 10-year fight, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act in 2020. This was a major win as it eliminated the sale of most flavored tobacco products including mint and menthol! But now a total ban on menthol is in the hands of the Food & Drug Administration. FDA). They know that African Americans smoke less but die more from smoking-related illness. They know that menthol makes it harder to start smoking and more difficult to quit. And they know that 85% of African American smokers choose menthols. Yet, they have not instituted a ban.
The FDA has been issued a court order to respond to a petition for a menthol ban. You can join the fight by asking your local representatives to support a ban on menthol.