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No Menthol Sunday Celebrates 10 Years of Tobacco Prevention Nationwide

On May 19, Black communities across the country expressed their support for No Menthol Sunday, The Center for Black Health & Equity’s annual observance day dedicated to exposing the harms of menthol and flavored tobacco.

In 2014, the initiative started as a conversation piece for faith-based communities to help members of their congregation quit smoking and understand the benefits of living tobacco-free. Since then, hundreds of churches and organizations in over 35 states have held events and participated in No Menthol Sunday.

The No Menthol movement has had several triumphs in the past decade, but the challenges in this fight are still ongoing. Most recently, the Biden Administration has indefinitely postponed removing menthol from tobacco products citing the need for “more time” before making the rule official this election year. Meanwhile, over 80% of the cigarettes smoked by Black people are covered in menthol flavoring, which is used to disguise the harshness of tobacco and encourage deeper inhalation.

While the news was disappointing, it underscored the importance of this year’s No Menthol Sunday theme – Rooted in Power: A Decade of Determination. We know the tumultuous history between the tobacco industry and Black people. We know the government has missed the mark when it comes to protecting Black lives from the harms of this industry. However, we remain grounded, understand the power in knowing this history, and recognize that we must remove menthol from local markets to achieve national policy change.

The Center is proud to share that No Menthol Sunday received over 180 million impressions across 27 publications and social media platforms. We have always encouraged participants to share the campaign in a way that will appeal to their peers.

In Minnesota, a reverend at New Salem Baptist Church delivered a sermon encouraging congregants to share personal stories about their fight with tobacco.

Down in Bryan, Texas, a family held signs in their neighborhood to raise awareness.

And in Wisconsin, the response to No Menthol Sunday reached the governor’s office, prompting this official proclamation for the observance day.

The Center for Black Health & Equity is grateful for this extraordinary national response to No Menthol Sunday. Not only is it evidently clear that the country is ready for a new equitable health policy, but we are also not alone in this fight for a tobacco-free future.





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