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EXTRA FUNDING: Cooling off Menthol Activity!

COOLING OFF MENTHOL PROJECT

The tobacco industry has a well-documented history of targeting their deadly products to people of color, the LGBTQ community, and youth.  One tactic used by the industry is creating flavored products, including menthol/mint, that mask the harsh taste of tobacco.  Unfortunately, their tactics are still working and their business expanding to products like e-cigarettes/vapes; according to the Surgeon General, flavors are the leading reason youth use e-cigarettes.  We want to know what youth in your community think about the injustices surrounding the tobacco industry and menthol products.

THE PROBLEM

Federal law bans flavors in all cigarettes, but not in other tobacco products (OTPs) like e-cigarettes, cigars, and hookahs. The exception to this ban in cigarette flavors? Menthol. Check out some facts from the Truth Initiative that sum up why industry targeting of menthol is still an issue:  

  • Menthol cigarettes are slowing the reductions in overall cigarette smoking rates. From 2004 to 2014, the decline in cigarette consumption was greater for non-menthol cigarettes than menthol cigarettes.
  • Menthol smoking prevalence now exceeds non-menthol smoking prevalence among both youth and young adult smokers.
  • Youth smokers remain the age group most likely to use menthol cigarettes.
  • LGBT smokers are significantly more likely to smoke menthol cigarettes.
  • African-American smokers predominantly use menthol cigarettes. Nearly 9 in 10 African-American smokers (88.5 percent) aged 12 and older use menthol cigarettes.
  • There are 10X more menthol advertisements and retail promotions in Black communities than in any other neighborhoods.
  • Young people who initiate using menthol cigarettes are more likely to become addicted and become long-term daily smokers.

WHAT WE’RE ASKING

We’re asking Chapters to do a survey in their high schools across MA. The survey is seven questions long and will be provided to your Chapter. It has a few simple questions on there about what youth think about menthol.

The point of the survey is to get as many youth in all grades at your school to take it, and we suggest that it be done during lunch or homeroom to avoid duplicate answers. Don’t worry – we’ll provide you with everything you need to actually get this done, and one of our staff will schedule a call with you to go over it all.

We suggest completing the survey no later than two weeks prior to Kick Butts Day (March 20, 2019) so that you can use the data on April 3 when you talk with your legislators! Otherwise, Chapters must request to do this project by May 15, 2019.

**This project should be completed by high school-based Chapters or Chapters that can partner with a local high school to conduct the activity.**

HOW TO GET STARTED

  1. Email word@the84.org to let us know you want to do the project
  2. We’ll send you a toolkit in the mail
  3. You’ll use the toolkit to identify your school populations to survey and gather responses.
  4. Once you return the results to The 84, we’ll enter the data in for you and get you the results back as fast as we can. We’ll also send your Chapter a $500 check for completing the survey! We encourage the funding to be given to the youth who worked on the project and getting it organized.
  5. You’ll take the results and share them with decision-makers on social media and hopefully at Kick Butts Day!