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New York Kids Will 'Kick Butts' On Wednesday, March 20

State Leaders Urged to Support Tobacco Prevention Initiatives

WASHINGTON, March 15, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Kids in New York will stand up against tobacco on March 20 as they join thousands of young people nationwide for the 18 th annual Kick Butts Day. More than 1,200 events are planned across the United States. (See below for a list of local events.)

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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 $8.5 billion a year – nearly $1 million 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 $96 billion in health care bills each year.

In New York, tobacco use claims 25,400 lives and costs $8.2 billion in health care bills each year. Currently, 11.9 percent of the state's high school students smoke. New York health advocates are working to increase funding for tobacco prevention programs.

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 New York include:
  • Students at Ulster BOCES in Port Ewen will participate in a variety of educational and visual anti-tobacco activities and will learn about the harmful effects of tobacco use. Weather permitting, the outdoor activities will draw the community's attention to students' efforts to speak out against tobacco use. Time: 9:30 AM (morning session); 12:15 PM (afternoon session). Location: Ulster BOCES, 319 Broadway, Port Ewen. Contact: Jenna Suraci (845) 331-6680.
  • Students at CNS High School in Cicero and the CanTeen youth center will display shoes during lunch periods to visually represent tobacco's death toll and engage students in the need to stay tobacco free. Time: 10:30 AM. Location: 6002 Route 31, Cicero. Contact: Toni Brauchle (315) 491-3314.
  • North Shore-LIJ Health System and Saint Aiden School in Williston Park will hold a carnival to increase awareness of the dangers of tobacco use. Entries in an anti-tobacco video contest for teens will also be screened . Time: 10:30 AM. Location: Saint Aiden School, 510 Willis Avenue, Williston Park. Contact: Betty Olt (516) 465-2645.
  • On March 22, students at Manhasset Secondary School will learn about the dangers of cigarettes, chewing tobacco and hookah through a collaborative effort of the Manhasset Middle School Science Department, Tobacco Action Coalition of Long Island, Manhasset Community Coalition Against Substance Abuse Youth Committee and the Molloy College Nursing Program Health Fair. Time: 8:15 AM. Location: 200 Memorial Place, Manhasset. Contact: Mark Sippin (516) 267-7626.
  • On March 23, the Binghamton Boys and Girls Club will host a Kickin' Butts 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament, which will also feature educational activities and trivia games for spectators and a youth-created video about point-of-sale marketing. Time: 11 AM. Location: Binghamton Boys and Girls Club, 90 Clinton Street, Binghamton. Contact: Cara Zampi (607) 321-4049.

(Note: all events are on March 20 unless otherwise indicated.)

For a full list of Kick Butts Day events in New York, visit Additional information about tobacco, including state-by-state statistics, can be found at


Brianna Gavio, +1-202-745-5064 Catherine Butsch, +1-202-296-5469

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