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

Megan Elizabeth Weaver, 14, Will Read Letter April 5 At National Kick Butts Day Kick-Off in Washington, DC

Apr. 3 2000

Washington, DC - Megan Elizabeth Weaver, 14, of Canton, Ohio, 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. Megan will read her 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. Megan and Atyah Hadaddin, 12, of Stanton, California, 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. Megan is an eighth-grade student at Edison Jr. High in Perry Township. Her social studies teacher, Melissa Schaub, offered the letter-writing activity to her students as extra academic credit. Megan said that writing the letter was an opportunity for her to express her opinions about cigarettes. “I’m very against smoking, plus I’m allergic to cigarette smoke,” she said. Megan’s letter reads in part, “As long as the media is allowed to glamorize and promote this well known addictive drug, young people will be influenced to purchase and begin a lifelong addiction. The message we receive is that smoking is a popular and cool thing to do. We observe celebrities in movies smoking, we see models and athletes in popular magazines smoking and the message to us is once again confusing…. Would it not be to the FDA’s advantage to take every known precaution in limiting the tobacco industry’s marketing techniques?” Megan will read her 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 event, the CAMPAIGN FOR TOBACCO-FREE KIDS 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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