On Sunday, May 28, 2023, Save a Girl Save a World (SAGSAW), a multigenerational mentoring organization will partner with New Destiny Christian Fellowship for No Menthol Sunday. The initiative is an annual national observance as an interfaith event to engage Black communities about mentholated tobacco products. Currently, menthol products are consumed by over 80 percent of Black smokers, an alarming disparity that has serious health effects. According to the CDC, young people, racial and ethnic minority groups, LGBTQ+ people, women, people with a low income, and people with mental health conditions are most likely to smoke menthol cigarettes.
To engage in advocacy and agency around the deleterious effects of menthol products, SAGSAW has joined forces with Bishop Horace Sheffield, a longtime advocate for change, and civil rights leader, to bring awareness to the harms of smoking. Research suggests that banning menthol cigarettes would save 92,000 to 238,000 lives. According to Sheffield, “death can wait”. Youth and young adults involved in SAGSAW will push this message on Sunday during worship service. The students, wearing branded No Menthol Sunday t-shirts, will join alongside residents for worship service while reinforcing their commitment to educating the community about the intentional targeting of low-income Black communities as a hub for access to menthol cigarettes at a cheaper price.
“I think a lot of young people don’t recognize the harms of e-cigarettes too”, says L’Oréal Bracey, a SAGSAW mentee who attends Grosse Pointe North High School. Bracey refers to the market for vaping products and its expansion worldwide. In 2022, 2.5 million youth reported smoking e-cigarettes.
While the worship service is expected to be interactive and replete with educational literature for review. All participants are charged with engaging social media with a post using the hashtag #NMS2023 #SAGSAW. Save a Girl Save a World was formed under the leadership of Glenda Gill, its President & CEO. The organization began on the campus of Bennett College in North Carolina as an annual retreat and has evolved into a full fledge program offering year-round services to women and girls attending HBCUs. Its flagship school is Clark Atlanta University in Georgia.