Menthol is naturally found in peppermint and other types of mint plants. It is also made in labs as a flavor additive for various foods, medications, and health items. It is one of the most popular flavors added to tobacco products. Most people who smoke started with menthol cigarettes, and almost 9 out of 10 African Americans who smoke or vape use mentholated products.
Menthol may be added to cough syrups, lozenges, and other products designed to improve health, but it’s not healthier or safer than tobacco products without menthol. When menthol is inhaled while smoking or vaping, a tingly cool feeling occurs that reduces pain and irritation in the airway. It also reduces coughing and gives the illusion that the smoker can breathe better.
Menthol use can contribute to many health problems in both men and women, especially those with fertility struggles, bone and teeth health issues, diabetes, heart disease, and various cancers. The FDA and CDC both warn against menthol tobacco use as it is more addictive and harder to quit than non-menthol tobacco products.
In our effort to educate our community on the dangers of menthol products and to promote quitting, we created and launched No Menthol May.
No Menthol May is Southern Nevada Health District’s (SNHD) expansion of The Center for Black Health & Equity’s No Menthol Sunday, a national movement to increase awareness of menthol product dangers and promote quitting among the African American community. No Menthol May engages our churches and community in discussions about predatory practices of the tobacco industry and how menthol and other flavored tobacco products play a larger role in tobacco still being the #1 killer of African Americans.
The No Menthol May project identifies and partners with African American faith-based churches in Las Vegas. Every Sunday in May, all participating churches create a tobacco-free campus policy or a minimum-distance policy to minimize or eliminate secondhand smoke exposure on church grounds.
Starting in late April, SNHD collaborates with community volunteers and church leaders to set up educational events that encourage church members not to use menthol products. Members are asked to pledge to become or stay menthol free, and are encouraged to invite family, friends, and community members to do the same. Each Sunday in May, church leaders and pastors incorporate No Menthol May’s objectives and other tobacco facts into church services. Each church is provided educational materials and corresponding social media posts to reinforce the message to service attendees and social media followers.EVENT DETAIL