St. Louis-Area Black Ministers Join Effort To Stop Black Youth From Smoking Cigarettes
About one dozen black ministers from St. Louis are teaming up with a statewide anti-smoking initiative to urge area youths to not smoke cigarettes, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. The initiative -- called "Show Me Health: Clearing the Air About Tobacco" -- aims to educate the public about tobacco use and its effect on health. The American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association and the American Lung Association are the primary sponsors of the initiative. According to the Show Me Health Web site, blacks are more likely to have long-term health consequences from smoking and are more likely to die from cancer than other groups. The ministers' effort, which launched at the end of summer, aims to speak against smoking through special events, classes, educational materials and during sermons. Some of the participating ministers and participants in the Show Me Health initiative attended a class led by a representative from the lung association to become certified instructors. The Rev. Sammie Jones, pastor of the Mount Zion Baptist Church, said, "Many young African-American boys and girls start smoking because of their peers or because of what they see in the theater or on television, and they think it's a status symbol." Josh Campbell, director of field operations for the Show Me Health project at the lung association, said, "It's wonderful to have such committed leaders in the African-American faith community. We have seen these leaders step up in great ways. Their efforts to send out messages about the devastating effects of smoking will undoubtedly go a long way toward helping their audiences recognize and act on the dangers associated with tobacco" (Harris, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 11/25).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.