Planking. Spending too many hours playing video games. Watching an entire season of Game of Thrones in one sitting. There will always be regrets. But making a decision that could cause 320,000 deaths by 2050? That might be the biggest one yet.
In 2011, the FDA had an opportunity to ban menthols, but due to a “lack of research,” they never did. Despite the FDA’s own scientific review concluding that menthol cigarettes pose a public health risk above that seen with non-menthol cigarettes, menthols still have not been banned.
Promoted aggressively in low-income minority communities, at events which attract young audiences, and within the LGBT community; menthols are the only remaining cigarette flavor on the market, which is why DoSomething.org, one of the largest organizations for young people and social change, and truth, one of the most successful youth smoking prevention campaigns, are mobilizing young people to urge the FDA to avenge their biggest regret by taking action to ban menthol now.
DoSomething.org members will tweet their “big regrets” since 2011 using #MyBigRegret, tagging @FDATobacco and a linking to this petition. When curious friends click, they’ll learn what *should* be the FDA’s biggest regret.
“Over the past year we’ve helped thousands of young people join the movement of ‘Finishers,’ working to put an end to smoking for good,” said Michele Fino, CMO at DoSomething.org. “With #MyBigRegret, we’re looking to amplify the voices of our members who agree that six years is too long to wait for support on a systemic issue that can be solved now.”
“Menthol cigarettes are easier to start, more addictive, and harder to quit. More than half of current high school smokers smoke menthol cigarettes, which is why we’re urging young people to join us by using their creativity to encourage the FDA to take action,” said Amy Taylor, Senior Vice President, Community and Youth Engagement at Truth Initiative, the organization that funds and directs truth. “Every other type of flavored cigarette was banned years ago because of how they appealed to young, first-time smokers and that’s why we need the Administration and the FDA to do more to combat the dangers of menthol cigarettes.”
Actor Dexter Darden, known for his roles in the Maze Runner series, joined the campaign by filming a PSA encouraging other young people to participate in the campaign.
“When I was eight, I lost my father to Lung Cancer. He was a constant smoker and was trying his best to change his habits, but unfortunately it was too late. It rocked the life of my Mom and I and made me realize that constant smoking, secondhand smoke, and cigarettes could take anyone’s life in the blink of an eye,” said Darden. “People in his time weren’t as aware and they didn’t have the voices, technology, and resources to know how deadly tobacco could be. I’m fortunate enough to have a platform, and I’m so elated to partner with DoSomething.org and truth to raise awareness around this deadly issue.”
Young people can sign up for the campaign at Dosomething.org/regret or by texting REGRET to 38383. Those who upload a screenshot of their tweet will be entered for the chance to win a $5,000 scholarship.
For more information about #MyBigRegret, visit www.dosomething.org/regret.