Karra Thomas is a health advocate who is against smoking and wants the community to be against it as well. She invites you to join her in the fight to ‘End Menthol.
Why are you a part of the “End Menthol” campaign?
It’s important for me as an African American to show that we can be smoke-free. We can be drug-free. I think being around persons that have smoked, I’ve seen the demise. I’ve also seen the greatness and the progress of those that have stopped. So, it’s important to me to see that my loved ones, whether they are my family, extended family, or my community, become drug-free, smoke-free, environmentally free of all the toxins that we know that come from menthol and tobacco.
What would you say to smokers to encourage them to stop?
I would ask them first if they love themselves, then I would say if you love yourself, you wouldn’t put garbage and other toxins in your system to break it down. I would also say as a message that you can’t lead if you’re not an example. We are meant to uplift one another. That is the goal: to make sure we are helping our communities, helping to show that there is good.
There is urban farming and there are great things that are natural for us to do that are not detrimental to our health. Ultimately, as persons of color, we don’t like to go to the doctor. We don’t like to take care of our health, but if we had a chance to do that or think it through, and think about the love of our own temple, we would want to take better care of ourselves and hopefully stop smoking now.
What does it feel like to walk through secondhand smoke?
It feels like you’re walking through a tunnel. You can’t breathe. You can see it feels like there is a whole environment there to distort and to dirty the air. Black people need to join the “End Menthol” movement, because we have suffered so much. We have thrived a lot in the health industry, but we want to take back what has been done to our communities that has brought them down. We can to take better care of our health. As I know through my own family, we have great leaders in the communities that have just given back.
As part of my lineage, some of my family members have helped to make sure that we understand where we’ve come from and where we are today. They wanted to make sure that we are that voice to the community to help uplift and invest back in our communities and our pockets.