No Menthol Sunday
As described by the National African American Tobacco Prevention Network (NAATPN), “No Menthol Sunday, a national observance day led by NAATPN, Inc. 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 to support one another in escaping tobacco addiction, but we also aim to highlight the role of menthol in particular.
This year’s theme, One Step Ahead, is inspired by council from the prophet Micah (Micah 6:8). He proclaims that we must do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God. It is for justice that we stand with marginalized communities who continue to experience the ill health effects of disparities. We act justly by fighting for policies that equally offer everyone the privilege of optimal health—especially as it relates to tobacco. We commend the Food and Drug Administration’s recent proposal to ban mentholated cigarettes, but NAATPN, in partnership with communities across the country, has been working toward this for decades. We have always been a step ahead concerning this issue because this has always been the just thing to do.
Next, we demonstrate mercy and compassion for teens and young adults who have been aggressively marketed to. Young people are often persuaded by the tobacco industry to make uninformed decisions to try Juul, e-cigarettes and other harmful products. We believe that young people deserve the best even if they don’t always know what they are getting into. Fortunately, use of these products are still low among kids of color. We need to keep it that way. While companies like Juul are beginning an aggressive marketing push into our schools and neighborhoods, we’ve got to stay one step ahead. Our goal for this year is to urge young people to reject these forms of tobacco by boycotting the products and telling those industries to stay out of our communities.
Lastly, the Centers for Disease Control has deemed 2019 the year of cessation. That means it’s the perfect time to quit tobacco for good. There is no place for pride when it comes to walking away from addiction. Hence, this year’s theme encourages participants to stay one step ahead of the game. Anticipate the needs of those in your life who are trying to quit. Offer helpful resources and simply be a friend. If you are trying to quite yourself, take advantage of 1-800-Quit-Now as well as other resources and quit inspirations. As we walk humbly with God, none of us ever walk alone.”