News Archives

United Methodist Men join effort to help reduce teen smoking

LINK: Click to open full size version of image
A UMNS photo by Linda Green

Vincent DeMarco introduces the Faith United Against Tobacco campaign to the Commission on United Methodist Men.
Sept. 18, 2006

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.

LINK: Click to open full size version of image
Melvin Bowdan

I 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 our country.”

According to, “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.”

LINK: Click to open full size version of image
Keith Smith

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

*Green is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in Nashville, Tenn.

News media contact: Linda Green, (615) 742-5470 or

Related Articles
Men’s commission moves four-year gathering from Purdue
Tobacco-Free Kids Campaign: An Update and Call to Action
Campaign wants smokers to take a hike - in taxes
World Conference on Tobacco or Health
United Methodist Men
Faith United Against Tobacco
United Methodist Resolutions on Tobacco Marketing
United Methodist Board of Church and Society