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May 19th marks the 10th anniversary of the No Menthol Sunday Initiative

Dear Editor,


Lauren Ho

May 19th marks the 10th anniversary of the No Menthol Sunday initiative. As we strive for equity in healthcare, it is imperative to address the specific challenges marginalized communities face, and a menthol ban presents a vital opportunity to do so. 

Studies consistently show that menthol cigarettes disproportionately impact Black individuals, who are more likely to use them compared to other racial groups because of over a half century of targeted advertising. Menthol, with its cooling properties, masks the harshness of tobacco, making it easier to start smoking and harder to quit. This creates a dual burden for the Black community – not only are they more likely to begin smoking, but they also face greater challenges in quitting. The toll that smoking has had on Black health is alarming, from heightened cardiovascular risks to increased risks of lung cancer and death. 

Legislation banning menthol would be a proactive measure to protect the well-being of Black communities. It would not only reduce smoking rates, but also contribute to decreasing health disparities and promoting health equity. 

On No Menthol Sunday or even today, please consider quitting smoking or vaping. Talk with your doctor and contact the New York State Smokers’ Quitline at 1-866-NY-QUITS (866-697-8487) or, or text DROPTHEVAPE to 88709.


Lauren Ho,


Junior at the University of Rochester, studying Biomedical Engineering

Lauren Ho

 Submitted by:

 Center for a Tobacco-Free Finger Lakes

 University of Rochester Medical Center

 Department of Public Health Sciences

 265 Crittenden Blvd.

 Rochester, New York 14642


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