Dr. Kathye D. Jenkins (File photo)

Ministries across greater Los Angeles will observe No Menthol Sunday on May 21, to educate church and community members about smoking, vaping and the role of menthol and other flavors.

Sponsored by the Center for Black Health & Equity, the initiative enlists faith leaders to join the effort to improve health outcomes in the African American and minority communities, said Dr. Kathye D. Jenkins, local committee member and president of the Women’s Ministry of the Los Angeles District Association.

“No Menthol Sunday serves to raise our consciousness about important issues in Black health. When people of faith remain vigilant, educate youth, and inspire community action, we will begin to move toward total health justice,” said Jenkins, who is also founder and president of the Cynthia Perry Ray Foundation’s Witness to Fitness.

“This year’s theme, ‘Focus on Victory, Go Against the Grain,’ encourages us to stand up against the tobacco industry and create healthy and just tobacco-free communities. Also, No Menthol Sunday is also an excellent time for people who smoke to begin a new quit journey,” she added.

“Faith communities can commit to creating comfortable, safe spaces for those who struggle with nicotine addiction. Genuine support and an open ear for transparent conversations are very important. Today, we invite tobacco users to seek the necessary resources they need to be successful,” Jenkins said.

Greg Bolden at the Center for Black Health outlined several ways that individuals and ministries can participate in No Menthol Sunday. Actions includes compiling a list of faith-based organizations to aid in educating others about the importance of tobacco-free policies and flavor bans that include menthol;  offering free nicotine replacement therapy during the week of No Menthol Sunday, and promoting California’s 1-800-QUIT-NOW phone line.

For more resources and campaigns, visit centerforblackhealth.org.