State Leaders Urged to Support Tobacco Prevention Initiatives
March 19, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Kids in
Colorado will take center stage in the fight against tobacco on
March 21 as they join thousands of young people nationwide for the 17th annual Kick Butts Day. More than 1,100 events are planned across the nation (for a list of local events see below).
Organized by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and sponsored by the United Health Foundation, Kick Butts Day is an annual celebration of youth leadership and activism in the fight against tobacco use. On Kick Butts Day, youth will encourage their peers to stay tobacco-free and educate their communities about the dangers of tobacco and the tobacco industry's harmful marketing practices.
This year, Kick Butts Day comes just after a new report by the U.S. Surgeon General found that while the nation has made tremendous progress in reducing youth smoking, youth tobacco use remains a "pediatric epidemic" that requires urgent action. The Surgeon General's report reached the following conclusions:
- While the high school smoking rate has been cut nearly in half since the mid-1990s, more than 3.6 million middle and high school students still smoke.
- In addition to long-term consequence such as cancer and heart disease, tobacco use immediately harms the health of youth and young adults. Smoking quickly causes nicotine addiction, cardiovascular damage, slower lung growth and shortness of breath.
- Tobacco marketing causes kids to start and continue using tobacco products. Tobacco companies spend more than $10 billion a year – more than $1 million an hour – to advertise and promote their products.
- Science and experience have identified proven strategies to reduce youth tobacco use. These include mass media campaigns, increasing the price of cigarettes through higher tobacco taxes, smoke-free policies and school and community prevention programs.
"Kids are sending two powerful messages on Kick Butts Day: They want the tobacco companies to stop targeting them, and they want elected leaders to protect them from tobacco," said
Matthew L. Myers
, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. "We know how to win the fight against tobacco. Elected officials across the nation should support these proven solutions, including higher tobacco taxes, strong smoke-free laws and well-funded tobacco prevention programs."
Tobacco use is the number one cause of preventable death in
the United States
, killing more than 400,000 people and costing
in health care bills each year. Nationally, 19.5 percent of high school students still smoke, and another 1,000 kids become regular smokers every day.
, tobacco use claims 4,300 lives and costs
in health care bills each year. Currently, 17.7 percent of the state's high school students smoke.
On Kick Butts Day, kids turn the tables on Big Tobacco with events that range from "They put WHAT in a cigarette?" demonstrations to health fairs to rallies at state capitols. Activities in
include (all events are on
unless otherwise noted):
Non-Cigarette Tobacco Product Retail License (N-CTRL) Coalition
will host a contest featuring art on the subject of "What I can do to make the world tobacco-free." The winners will be displayed and announced at simultaneous events at Steamboat Springs High School, Steamboat Springs Middle School, Strawberry Park Elementary School, and Soda Creek Elementary School. Time:
. Location: 45 E. Maple Street, Steamboat Springs. Contact:
Black United Fund of Colorado
will host a "They put WHAT in a cigarette?!" event at the Hiawatha Recreation Center in
where kids will learn the truth about the hazardous chemicals found in cigarettes, such as arsenic and ammonia. Time:
. Location: 3334 Holly Street, Denver. Contact: Pamela Willis (303) 675-0583.
Liberty Middle School
will host a health fair to educate students about the dangers of tobacco use. Students will create displays about tobacco, and will create a large anti-tobacco message on a fence facing E-470, a major highway in town. Time:
. Location: 21500 E. Dry Creek Road, Aurora. Contact:
Students Taking action against Underage Drinking (STUD)
at Dove Creek High School in
will conduct a survey on tobacco use to show statistically how many people surveyed could die or have major health consequences if they continue to use tobacco. This will be accompanied by activities and prizes. Location: 525 N. Main Street, Dove Creek. Contact:
For a full list of Kick Butts Day events in
. Additional information about tobacco, including state-by-state statistics, can be found at
About the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is a leading force in the fight to reduce tobacco use and its deadly toll in
the United States
and around the world. Our vision is a future free of the death and disease caused by tobacco. We work to prevent kids from smoking, help smokers quit and protect everyone from secondhand smoke. For more information, visit
SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids