Today is Kick Butts Day!
Learn about America’s most wanted tobacco villains
Posted by: Editor | Mar 20, 2013
Today is the 18th Kick Butts Day, our annual celebration of youth leadership and activism in the fight against tobacco.
With more than 1,200 events happening across the country and on military bases around the world, this is the biggest Kick Butts Day yet. Today and throughout the week, thousands of kids are taking a stand against tobacco. Find Kick Butts Day events in your area.
This Kick Butts Day, we are focusing attention on "America's Most Wanted Tobacco Villains" — the biggest tobacco threats kids face today.
We've made enormous progress in reducing youth smoking in the U.S.: The smoking rate among high school students has fallen from a record high of 36.4 percent in 1997 to 18.1 percent in 2011. But tobacco use among youth — and among all Americans — remains a serious problem. Every day, nearly 1,000 U.S. kids become regular smokers, and one-third of them will die prematurely as a result.
Why are so many kids still trying tobacco? A 2012 U.S. Surgeon General's report — Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults — concluded that tobacco marketing causes kids to start and continue using tobacco products. And according to the Federal Trade Commission, tobacco companies spend $8.5 billion a year – nearly $1 million each hour — to market their deadly and addictive products. Sadly, much of that marketing is targeted at youth.
Our infographic puts the spotlight on some of Big Tobacco's biggest villains:
- The Usual Suspects: The tobacco industry aggressively targets kids with marketing for cigarettes and smokeless tobacco. Among youth smokers, 85.8 percent prefer Marlboro, Camel and Newport, which are three of the most heavily marketed cigarette brands. See some of this marketing in our #tobaccotargetsme Instagram Gallery.
- New Villains: Tobacco companies have introduced cheap, sweet and colorfully-packaged small cigars that entice kids. Many look just like cigarettes and come in candy and fruit flavors like strawberry, vanilla, peach and apple. Read all about these products in our recent report, Not Your Grandfather's Cigar.
- Emerging Threats: Tobacco companies are also marketing novel smokeless tobacco products that look like breath mints, teabags and toothpicks; they're tobacco in disguise. These products are addictive and easy for kids to hide.
Tobacco use is the nation's number one cause of preventable death. It kills 443,000 Americans and costs $96 billion in health care bills each year. Because 90 percent of adult smokers start by the age of 18, preventing youth from ever starting to use tobacco is key to reducing tobacco's deadly toll. Help us spread the message by sharing our infographic on your social media channels.
Happy Kick Butts Day!