State Leaders Urged to Support Tobacco Prevention Initiatives
March 15, 2013
/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Kids in
will stand up against tobacco on
as they join thousands of young people nationwide for the 18
annual Kick Butts Day. More than 1,200 events are planned across
the United States
. (See below for a list of local events.)
Organized by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and sponsored by 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. They will also educate their communities about the dangers of tobacco and the tobacco industry's harmful marketing practices.
This year on Kick Butts Day, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is highlighting the tobacco industry's products and marketing that entice kids to use tobacco. According to the Federal Trade Commission, tobacco companies spend
a year – nearly
each hour – to market cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products. This marketing has an impact on kids:
- While the U.S. has greatly reduced youth smoking, 18.1 percent of high school students still smoke, and nearly 1,000 kids become regular smokers each day. Among youth smokers, 86 percent prefer Marlboro, Newport and Camel, which are the three most heavily advertised cigarette brands, according to the government's National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
- Tobacco companies have also introduced new products that appeal to kids, including cheap, sweet, colorfully-packaged small cigars that look just like cigarettes. Many cigars come in fruit and candy flavors such as strawberry, vanilla, peach and apple.
- In a 2012 report, the U.S. Surgeon General concluded that tobacco marketing causes kids to start and continue using tobacco products.
"On Kick Butts Day, kids will stand up and reject Big Tobacco's manipulative marketing," said
Matthew L. Myers
, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. "It's also a chance for elected leaders to commit to protecting kids from tobacco through policies such as tobacco taxes, smoke-free laws and prevention programs. We hope that legislators will listen to their young constituents and implement these proven solutions to reduce tobacco use and save lives."
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.
, tobacco use claims 9,500 lives and costs
in health care bills each year. Currently, 18.1 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
- On March 16, the New Bloomfield Smokebusters in New Bloomfield will host a dodge ball tournament featuring a trivia game and appearances by their high school cheerleaders and mascot. Time: 1:30 PM. Location: New Bloomfield High School Gym, 307 Redwood Drive, New Bloomfield. Contact: Erin Hillis (573) 359-5627.
- The St. Joseph Health Department will host its 6 th annual dodge ball tournament at Missouri Western State University. Time: 6:00 PM. Location: Missouri Western State University, Looney Complex, 4525 Downs Drive, St. Joseph. Contact: Nancy Taylor (816) 244-9291.
- College students involved in Smoke Free SLU will stake the Saint Louis University Quad with tombstones and body bags to show the destructive effects of cigarette smoke. Location: Saint Louis University Quad, 20 N. Grand Boulevard, Saint Louis. Contact: Allegra Merriweather (314) 749-9710.
(Note: all events are on
unless otherwise indicated.)
For a full list of Kick Butts Day events in
. Additional information about tobacco, including state-by-state statistics, can be found at
CONTACTS: Allison Koehler, 202-745-5053
Catherine Butsch, 202-296-5469