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Youth voices heard on Kick Butts Day

Youth voices heard on Kick Butts Day

Posted by: Editor | Apr 3, 2014

On Kick Butts Day, March 19, thousands of youth and public health advocates across the country stood up to Big Tobacco. In events in their schools and rallies at state capitols, they spoke out against the industry’s deceptive marketing – and their voices were heard.

Why is Kick Butts Day important? We couldn’t say it better than these supporters, whose messages were amplified in newspapers, on TV and in blogs:

  • Interviewed on TV, teens from the 84 Movement in Boston said they recognized the tobacco industry’s marketing tactics of “price, packaging and availability” geared towards them, their peers and their younger siblings and they wanted to put an end to it. (“Teens fighting back against the tobacco industry,” My Fox Boston)
  • “The tobacco industry, right now, is targeting you guys and people younger than you, even children, by flavoring all of their tobacco products with candy flavors like cherry and grape, mint, all that. And the purpose is because they need a new generation of tobacco users — they need you guys to keep their industry going,” an organizer in Garden City, KS, told the teens at her event. (“Middle-schoolers observe Kids Kick Butts Day,” The Garden City Telegram [Kan.])
  • Wrote Dr. Paul D. Banick, chief medical officer for UnitedHealthcare MidSouth: “The goal of Kick Butts Day is to create a tobacco-free generation, so we need to take action now.” (“Smoking still a real concern”, The Tennessean)
  • Regarding the $8.8 billion/year tobacco companies spend marketing their products in the U.S., blogger Keonté Smith of Mommy 2K wrote, “Now, talk about something leaving a nasty taste in your mouth. That's an awful lot of money being spent to target and market cigarettes to MY kid, YOUR kid, OUR kids.” (“Kick Butts Day is Wednesday, March 19!” Mommy 2K)

Many youth groups raised the visibility of the tobacco problem in their communities with creative visuals or large-scale demonstrations.

  • Nearly 100 Nebraska teens marched to the State Capitol in a rally organized by No Limits, the state’s youth-led anti-tobacco movement. Said one participant, “We are fighting for our mothers, brothers and significant others; our sisters, fathers, grandmothers and granddaughters. This war is personal.” (“Nebraska teens take on Big Tobacco at Kick Butts Day rally,” Journal Star)
  • Aspiring filmmakers in La Crosse, Wis., debuted their anti-smoking YouTube videos at a red carpet event. Said one: “We want to have a tobacco-free generation. Kick Butts is about kids’ voices being heard. Our voices are louder than big tobacco.” (“La Crosse students to use YouTube to 'Kick Butts,'” La Cross Tribune)

As Alex Higginbotham, our youth spokesperson for Kick Butts Day, put it, it’s never too early to get involved in the fight against tobacco. “No matter how young you are or what background you might come from, you have a voice, and it matters.” (“Youth kick butts in fight against tobacco,” 2 News WDTN [Ohio])

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