United Methodist Men join effort to help reduce teen smoking
Sept. 18, 2006
|A UMNS photo by Linda Green
Vincent DeMarco introduces the Faith United Against Tobacco campaign to the Commission on United Methodist Men.
By Linda Green*
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — The Commission on United Methodist Men has joined
a coalition of faith groups to help reduce teen smoking.
The commission voted Sept. 16 to add its signature to a resolution that calls
for increasing the cost of cigarettes, smokeless tobacco and other tobacco
products as one of the most effective ways of reducing smoking and other tobacco
use among adolescents.
The men’s agency joins United Methodist Women and the churchwide Board
of Church and Society as members of a coalition called “Faith United
Against Tobacco,” to mobilize the faith community to support proven solutions
for reducing smoking — including increasing state tobacco taxes.
By signing the resolution, the commission signaled its intent to join the
American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free
Kids, the American Lung Association and others in working to reduce tobacco
use, especially among teens. The campaign was introduced by Vincent DeMarco,
coordinator of Faith United Against Tobacco.
Other groups participating in the campaign include the Presbyterian Church,
United Church of Christ, National Council of Churches, Seventh-Day Adventists,
American Muslim Foundation, Southern Baptist Convention, the Commission on
Social Action of Reform Judaism, Church Women United and Church of the Brethren.
n August, prominent faith leaders from the United Methodist Church and the
Seventh-Day Adventists sent a letter on behalf of Faith United Against Tobacco
to the National Conference of State Legislators strongly urging that states
fully fund tobacco prevention programs.
Both the resolution and a brochure note that every day, 5,000 children under
the age of 18 smoke their first cigarette, and if action is not taken, more
than 6 million children alive today will die from the effects of smoking.
“Faith leaders are making tobacco a priority because for too long our
clergy and our churches have been burying fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers
who were addicted to tobacco at a young age,” says Jim Winkler, top executive
of the Board of Church and Society, in promotional material for Faith United
Against Tobacco. “This is a moral tragedy that must be dealt with in
According to www.faithnottobacco.org, “Faith communities have long played
a critical role in addressing the nation’s social challenges, especially
in protecting children. That’s why helping to reduce tobacco use, the
leading preventable cause of disease and death in the United States, is a natural
extension of these efforts.”
The signing of the resolution by United Methodist
Men to reduce teen smoking is setting an example for men of other denominations
to get involved, said
Keith Smith of Seattle. “My belief is that all divisions of the church
should consider joining this initiative. ... We are setting an example for
the church and for men throughout the faith community.”
Commission member Melvin Bowdan of Nicholasville,
Ky., said “signing
the resolution is the right thing to do” because men are going to be
influential in helping teens understand smoking as “something that is
not appealing to them.”
More information on Faith United Against Tobacco is available at www.faithnottobacco.org.
*Green is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in Nashville, Tenn.
News media contact: Linda Green, (615) 742-5470 or firstname.lastname@example.org.