California Student Wins National Contest; Tells Next President What To Do About Tobacco

--Atyah Hadaddin, 12, Will Read Letter April 5 At National Kick Butts Day Kick-Off in Washington, DC-

Apr. 3 2000

Washington, DC  - Atyah Hadaddin, 12, of Stanton, California, has been selected as one of two winners of a national letter-writing contest to tell the next President of the United States what kids think about tobacco. Atyah will read his letter on April 5 at the National Kick Butts Day Kick-Off rally as part of the fifth annual Kick Butts Day, sponsored by the CAMPAIGN FOR TOBACCO-FREE KIDS. Atyah and Megan Weaver, 14, of Canton, Ohio, were the two winners in a contest that drew letters from more than 20,000 kids across the United States. All the letters will be delivered to the candidates for President of the United States on Kick Butts Day. Atyah is a sixth-grade student at Dickerson Elementary School in Cypress. His teacher, Gordon Hild, offered the letter-writing activity as an at-home writing assignment. Atyah said that writing the letter gave him a chance to talk about why it is wrong to smoke in front of kids or to expose tobacco advertising to kids. “Tobacco ads shouldn’t be in the magazines I read. They should be in grown up stuff,” he said. Atyah’s letter reads in part, “When I buy magazines like Road & Track it has many ads for cigarettes…In every magazine I get the first page inside is an ad for cigarettes…I’m only 12 but the ad for Basic cigarettes sounds great. Its ads say things like ‘The Best Things In Life Are Basic.’ I want the best things in my life…The guys in the ads look tough for the Marlboro Company. Everyone wants to look like them and go camping or ride horses in their life.” Atyah will read his letter at 9:30 a.m. April 5 at the National Press Club Ballroom, 529 14th Street NW, Washington, DC. At the political convention-style event, kids will tell the next President of the United States what they think he should do to protect them from tobacco. Other speakers include U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala and Washington Redskins star Darrell Green. At the rally, the CAMPAIGN FOR TOBACCO-FREE KIDS also will release a new teen poll showing the impact of tobacco advertising on kids and how easy kids say it is to buy cigarettes. The poll shows that despite their rhetoric and public relations effort, the tobacco companies continue to target kids with aggressive marketing campaigns. And kids want it to stop. On Kick Butts Day, kids nationwide become leaders in the fight against tobacco, organizing creative events that highlight the dangers of tobacco use and the tobacco industry’s manipulative marketing practices. This year, more than 1,000 events are planned in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and American Samoa. Details on Kick Butts Day events in each state can be found at www.kickbuttsday.org. The National Kick Butts Day Kick-off in Washington, DC, will be webcast live at 9:30 a.m., EDT, 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.”

 

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