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O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center teams up with No Menthol Sunday effort

  • May 17, 2019
The O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB will join with faith leaders in African-American communities to educate about the harmful effects of tobacco use through No Menthol Sunday.

NMS 2019 1In observance of No Menthol Sunday on May 19, the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in partnership with the National African American Tobacco Prevention Network Inc. aims to educate the African-American community about the harmful effects of tobacco use. This year, the observance day will also call attention to vaping, e-cigarettes and menthol-flavored e-juices.

The event, held annually, aims to educate churchgoers about traditional tobacco use among African-Americans.  Each year, faith leaders are encouraged to talk about the importance of healthy living, not only for the sake of one’s physical body, but for the sake of the African-American community as a whole. 

Cigarette smoking is the No. 1 risk factor for lung cancer. In Alabama, there are about 8,600 deaths from smoking-related diseases, and 157,920 Alabama residents are living with a smoking-related illness. There are also currently 108,000 children under the age of 18 in Alabama who will ultimately die prematurely as a result of smoking.

“More specifically, smoking kills 47,000 African-Americans per year, which is more than homicides, suicides, AIDS-related death, car accidents and police brutality,” said Claudia Hardy, program director of the Office of Community Outreach and Engagement at the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center. “For citizens of Alabama, this effort is critical to the African-American community in that it provides education and information in a place they value and trust, and then hopefully will act on.”

There are more than 65 churches across the state participating in No Menthol Sunday. Participating churches are located in Calhoun, Choctaw, Dallas, Greene, Hale, Jefferson, Marengo, Sumter and Talladega counties. The pastors at each participating church will be given ideas and talking points for the Sunday service as well as a tobacco abstinence pledge for churchgoers and the option to declare the church as tobacco-free grounds. 

“African-Americans and other minority communities are the most sought-after populations that use menthol and tobacco-related products at an alarming rate,” Hardy said. “We are committed to building relationships in various ways, including faith-based organizations, to improve community outreach and engagement to reduce the risk for tobacco-related cancers and improve health outcomes.”

For more information on No Menthol Sunday or to download resources, click here or contact Tamika Pilgrom at or 205-975-0995.