Post submitted by Rev. Dr. Denise Donnell, Senior Faith Organizer
Earlier this month, HRC Arkansas participated in a press conference supporting “No Menthol Sunday.” HRC joined our community and faith leaders to raise awareness about the ill side effects of menthol and tobacco products.
HRC is extremely concerned about the effects of smoking. Nearly 40 percent of LGBTQ young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 have said that they smoke occasionally or socially. Unfortunately, this is the very age group tobacco companies are targeting.
An aggressive marketing of mentholated tobacco products disproportionately targets the African-American community at three times the rate as whites. The presence of manipulated levels of menthol entices more people, particularly these young adults, to start smoking and increases the difficulty of stopping for smokers who wish to quit.
National African-American Tobacco Prevention Network designed “No Menthol Sunday” encourage communities of faithful people to support a campaign to educate people about the harmful effects of smoking and offer assistance to any smoker who wants to stop.
LGBTQ young adults are nearly twice as likely to use tobacco as their non-LGBT young adult counterparts. HRC’s “Preventing Substance Abuse among LGBTQ Teens” issue brief found that LGBTQ youth also experiment with alcohol and other drugs occurs at twice the rate of their non-LGBTQ counterparts. HRC’s “Health Disparities among Bisexual People” issue brief also noted that bisexual adults have elevated rates of smoking and alcohol use compared to their heterosexual counterparts.
Earlier this month, HRC endorsed the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) new public education campaign that focuses on the nearly 40 percent of LGBTQ young adults between the ages of 18-24 who have stated that they smoke occasionally or “socially.”
For more information about the work of HRC in Arkansas, email Denise Donnell, firstname.lastname@example.org.