Kids Across America ‘Kick Butts’ Today

Mar. 20 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C. Thousands of kids across America are taking a stand against tobacco today as part of the 18th annual Kick Butts Day. More than 1,200 events are planned nationwide.

Organized by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and sponsored by United Health Foundation, Kick Butts Day is an annual celebration of youth leadership and activism in the fight against tobacco use. On Kick Butts Day, youth will encourage their peers to stay tobacco-free. They will also educate their communities about the dangers of tobacco and the tobacco industry’s marketing practices.

This year on Kick Butts Day, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is highlighting the tobacco industry’s products and marketing practices that entice kids to use tobacco. According to the Federal Trade Commission, tobacco companies spend $8.5 billion a year – nearly $1 million each hour – to market cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products. This marketing has an impact on kids:

  • While the Unites States has greatly reduced youth smoking, 18.1 percent of high school students still smoke, and nearly 1,000 kids become regular smokers each day. Among youth smokers, 86 percent prefer Marlboro, Newport and Camel, which are the three of the most heavily marketed cigarette brands, according to the government’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

  • Tobacco companies have also introduced new products that appeal to kids, including cheap, sweet, colorfully-packaged small cigars that look just like cigarettes. Many cigars come in fruit and candy flavors such as strawberry, vanilla, peach and apple.

  • In a 2012 report, the U.S. Surgeon General concluded that tobacco marketing causes kids to start and continue using tobacco products.

“On Kick Butts Day, kids are standing up and rejecting the tobacco industry’s manipulative marketing tactics,” said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “It’s also a chance for elected leaders to commit to protecting kids from tobacco through policies such as tobacco taxes, smoke-free laws and prevention programs. We hope that legislators will listen to their young constituents and implement these proven solutions to reduce tobacco use and save lives.”

Tobacco use is the number one cause of preventable death in the United States, killing more than 400,000 people and costing $96 billion in health care bills each year.

Every year on Kick Butts Day, kids take center stage in the fight against tobacco in new and creative ways. Notable events this year include:

  • The American Lung Association is hosting a zombie-themed advocacy day in Columbus, Ohio, that includes a zombie march, a youth press conference and a tour of the Statehouse.

  • Youth from across Massachusetts – members of the anti-tobacco group The 84 – are marching across the Boston Common and to the State House to fight Big Tobacco. Following the march, youth will meet with their legislators about fighting the tobacco industry’s deceptive tactics.

  • Youth from across Nebraska are participating in the No Limits Kick Butts Day Youth Rally at the state Capitol in Lincoln. At the Capitol, they will hold a rally with state senators to talk about the importance of fighting tobacco use, including youth prevention and smoke-free and tobacco-free environments.

  • On March 16, teens from the Asheville High School Teens Against Tobacco Use club in Asheville, North Carolina, participated in a two-mile walk to urge the community to take action on tobacco policies. Local legislators joined the event.

  • On March 22, the Utah Pride Center will hold a superhero-themed costume party in Salt Lake City as a fun way for youth to fight tobacco.

For a full list of Kick Butts Day events by state, visit http://www.kickbuttsday.org/events.

 

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