Menthol is a chemical naturally found in peppermint and other mint plants. However, menthol is also created in labs for use in various foods, medications, health items, and tobacco products. It is one of the most popular flavors added to tobacco products. Most people who smoke start with menthol cigarettes, and almost 9 out of 10 African Americans who smoke or vape use mentholated products.
While the tobacco industry uses menthol to make their products seem less harmful, tobacco products are not safer when menthol is added to them. 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 while smoking.
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 week in May, partnering churches incorporate No Menthol May’s objectives into their services by distributing educational materials and sharing related social media posts that reinforce the message to service attendees and social media followers.EVENT DETAIL