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No Menthol Sunday, a national day of observance led by the National African American Tobacco Prevention Network (NAATPN) and supported locally by the Wisconsin African-American Tobacco Prevention Network (WAATPN), kicked off in grand fashion last week.
“It is my pleasure to welcome tobacco prevention advocates and faith leaders from across the state and region to the kickoff for No Menthol Sunday, a national day of observance aimed at increasing awareness about the impact of menthol and other tobacco on Black Health,” said Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes during his opening remarks.
No Menthol Monday will culminate on May 17, 2020 with online sermons, media interviews, through social media, and various other activities that will take place virtually as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Menthol is a peppermint flavored anesthetic tobacco companies added to reduce the harshness of cigarettes and other tobacco products. Menthol tobacco, a product used by 8 of 10 African-American adult smokers, makes smoking easier to start and harder to quit.
Although adult smoking rates have decreased in recent years in Wisconsin, according to State Health Officer Jeanne Ayers, not every community is seeing those gains.
“We still face large disparities in terms of tobacco use and nowhere is that more evident than in our communities of color,” said Ayers during the kickoff meeting.
Also participating in the kickoff meeting were emcee Vivian King, poet La’Ketta Caldwell, Demonte Jefferson, executive director of the NAATPN, Bishop John Franklin White from the AME Fourth District Church, and pastors from several local churches.
Gov. Tony Evers has declared May 17, No Menthol Sunday in the State of Wisconsin and Mayor Tom Barrett, has issued a similar proclamation for the City of Milwaukee.
For more information on how your congregation can observe “No Menthol Sunday” visit waatpn.com.