On Friday, April 22, 2022 (11-12:30) Sharon Eubanks, who served as lead counsel on behalf of the United States in the largest RICO enforcement action ever filed: United States v. Philip Morris (The Tobacco Master Settlement Case), will join Carol McGruder, co-chair of the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council (AATCLC), and Mark Meaney, the Deputy Director of Commercial Tobacco Control Law and Policy at the Public Health Law Center (PHLC) for a virtual panel discussion as part of the kickoff to No Menthol Sunday activities in Wisconsin. The AATCLC and other groups filed a successful lawsuit against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for failing to take action on menthol in 2020.
No Menthol Sunday, a national day of observance that takes place on May 15, 2022, is led by the The Center for Black Health and Equity and supported locally by the Wisconsin African American Tobacco Prevention Network. On that day the faith community, residents, elected officials, tobacco retailers and others help spread awareness of the impact of tobacco on Black health, provide support to those trying to quit, and raise awareness on issues related to menthol.
This year, the seventh No Menthol Sunday, takes place during a pivotal moment in the movement to address health disparities caused by tobacco. The FDA is expected this spring to announce new policy related to menthol. Smoking kills 45,000 African Americans a year and is a major contributor to their leading causes of death: heart disease, diabetes and cancer. The most commonly used tobacco product by African Americans is menthol cigarettes. In fact, 9 out of 10 Black smokers in Wisconsin smoke menthol cigarettes, compared to 4 in 10 white smokers.
Menthol is a peppermint flavor tobacco companies add to reduce the harshness of cigarettes and other tobacco products. The menthol additive makes it easier to start and harder to quit, and although African Americans start smoking at a later age and smoke less, they are more likely to die from tobacco use, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Tobacco companies have historically targeted menthol products to communities of color. In Wisconsin, the smoking rate for African Americans is 25%, much higher than that of the state’s general adult population (16%).
The kickoff event will be emceed by media personality Vivian King and the panel discussion will be moderated by Pastor Walter Lanier, CEO and president of the African American Leadership Alliance Milwaukee. Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes and Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley have recorded welcoming remarks. The theme of No Menthol Sunday 2022 is “A Bold Awareness: A fight to the finish,” and represents a renewed opportunity to build tobacco-free communities that are healthy and just and advocate for a healthier future that makes menthol and tobacco-related disease a thing of the past.
Kickoff Meeting: Friday, April 22, 2022 from 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Register for the event here
To join directly via computer/tablet/etc: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86121207071