Mar. 30 2000
Washington, DC - Thousands of kids across America will step up to the front lines of the tobacco wars on April 5 for the fifth annual Kick Butts Day. More than 1,000 events are planned in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and American Samoa. Kick Butts Day 2000 comes just two weeks after tobacco was thrust back into the headlines by the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s authority to regulate tobacco products. While ruling, 5-4, that the FDA currently does not have authority to regulate tobacco, including restricting marketing and sales to kids, the Court put the spotlight on Congress to act by calling tobacco use, particularly among children and adolescents, “perhaps the single most significant threat to public health in the United States.” Kick Butts Day will also focus attention on state legislators across the country as they debate using money from the $246 billion tobacco settlement for tobacco prevention programs. On Kick Butts Day, kids will take their turns as leaders in the fight against tobacco, organizing creative events that highlight the dangers of tobacco use and the tobacco industry’s manipulative marketing practices. They will be joined by prominent Americans, including First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala, Washington Redskins star Darrell Green, Olympic figure skating champion and CAMPAIGN spokesperson Tara Lipinski, and U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher. At the political convention-style National Kick Butts Day Kick-off in Washington, D.C., kids will tell the next President of the United States what they think he should do to protect them from tobacco. Two winners of a national letter-writing contest will read their letters to the next President, and thousands of letters from kids will be delivered to each candidate. The CAMPAIGN will also release a new poll with alarming results showing the impact of tobacco advertising on kids and how easy kids say it is to buy cigarettes. Former NFL Man of the Year Darrell Green will emcee and HHS Secretary Shalala will speak. The event starts at 9:30 a.m. at the National Press Club, 14th and F Streets NW. In New York City, First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton addresses a middle school rally, where students will perform their own raps and poems about tobacco. Fashion Institute of Technology students are coordinating the event from 8 to 10 a.m. at the Salk School of Science, 319 E. 19th Street. Contact: Nicole Jeannette, 917-969-8362. In New York’s Times Square, teens from the S.H.O.C.K. tobacco control group will encourage smokers to snuff out their cigarettes in exchange for healthier alternatives such as fruit or chewing gum. Deep in Cajun Country, kids will parade through the streets of Napoleonville, LA, in a traditional New Orleans jazz funeral for Mr. Butts following his trial by the local Boys & Girls Club. A local funeral home donated the coffin. The group will turn serious at the end of the day and hold a candlelight vigil in honor of loved ones lost to tobacco. U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher will attend a soccer rally outside Atlanta, GA, where kids literally will kick butts painted on a backboard. In Wilkes-Barre, PA, CAMPAIGN spokesperson and Olympic figure skating champion Tara Lipinski will recognize winners of an anti-tobacco essay-writing contest. In Baltimore, MD, at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, home of the Baltimore Orioles, Mr. Butts will be ejected from centerfield at 6:45 p.m. by members of Students Oppose Smoking - Save Our Schools. During the game, students will staff a booth offering free tests to measure people’s exposure to carbon monoxide gas as a result of smoking and second-hand smoke. In Louisville, KY, thousands of high school students participating in the international PRIDE 2000 drug prevention conference will sign an anti-tobacco banner with notes to loved ones who have died from tobacco use or still smoke. In Phoenix, AZ, more than 1,000 kids will see the premier of “Tobacco: The Musical” at the Castles N Coasters’ mainstage. Arizona Cardinals football players will be on hand, as will American Medical Association president-elect Randolph Smoak. From Des Moines, IA, to Oakland, CA, from Reading, PA, to Denver, CO, kids will gather by the hundreds at rallies to tell tobacco to stay out of their lives. “Kids are particularly effective advocates against youth tobacco use when they speak with one voice -- as they do on Kick Butts Day,” said Matthew Myers, president of the CAMPAIGN FOR TOBACCO-FREE KIDS. “Their peers -- and adults -- listen to them when they talk about how kids are being targeted as replacement smokers for the 400,000 smokers who die every year from their tobacco-caused diseases.” In a special partnership, the CAMPAIGN has teamed with Girl Scouts U.S.A. to organize Kick Butts Day activities in more than 200 communities. In Ann Arbor, MI, at the urging of her 12-year-old troop members, Junior Scout troop leader Cyndi Bens plans to give up her 31-year addiction to tobacco on Kick Butts Day. For information, contact Mrs. Bens at 734-663-6193. “As young leaders in their communities, Girl Scouts can be ambassadors of tobacco-free living, showing parents, friends and others the importance of quitting smoking,” said Marsha Johnson Evans, National Executive Director of GSUSA. “Through Girl Scouting and the Kick Butts Day project, girls are learning to resist tobacco now and establish healthy habits during youth that will last throughout adulthood.” Every day, 6,000 kids smoke cigarettes for the first time, and 3,000 become regular smokers. One-third of these regular smokers will die prematurely from tobacco-related disease. Kick Butts Day is co-sponsored by the CAMPAIGN FOR TOBACCO-FREE KIDS and New York City Public Advocate Mark Green. The CAMPAIGN is the largest non-governmental initiative ever undertaken to reduce youth tobacco use in the United States. More information about Kick Butts Day 2000, including a state-by-state list of activities, is available on the Internet at www.kickbuttsday.org. Information about the deadly toll of tobacco in our society can be found at www.tobaccofreekids.org. Note to the media: The National Kick Butts Day Kick-off in Washington, D.C., will be webcast live at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, April 5, at www.kickbuttsday.org, and a recorded version can be viewed on the site later in the day. You must have RealPlayer 7.0 installed on your computer to view the webcast. You can download RealPlayer 7.0 for free at www.real.com, under the section entitled “Top Free Downloads.” Additional Kick Butts Day activities are being announced daily. Please contact us for details on events mentioned in this release or in your coverage area.