WASHINGTON, March 11, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Kids in Arizona will stand up to Big Tobacco on March 16 as they join thousands of young people nationwide for Kick Butts Day. More than 1,000 events are planned across the United States and around the world for this annual day of youth activism, sponsored by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. (See below for a list of local events.)
On Kick Butts Day, kids demand that tobacco companies stop marketing deadly products to them and encourage elected officials to help reduce youth tobacco use.
This year, Kick Butts Day is focusing attention on the outrageous marketing tactics tobacco companies still use to target youth. These tactics include:
- Splashy ads in magazines with large youth readership, such as Sports Illustrated, Glamour and Rolling Stone.
- Widespread advertising and price discounts in stores, which make tobacco products appealing and affordable to kids.
- Sweet-flavored tobacco products such as electronic cigarettes and small cigars that come in flavors like gummy bear, cotton candy, watermelon and fruit punch. While youth cigarette smoking has fallen to record lows, the most recent government survey shows that e-cigarette use among high school students tripled from 2013 to 2014 (from 4.5 percent to 13.4 percent).
Nationwide, tobacco companies spend $9.6 billion a year – over one million dollars every hour – to market tobacco products. In Arizona, tobacco companies spend $108.5 million annually on marketing efforts.
"On Kick Butts Day, kids stand up to the tobacco industry and all of us, especially our elected officials, should stand with them," said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. "We've made amazing progress in reducing youth smoking and can make the next generation tobacco-free. Elected officials in every state should help reach that goal by supporting proven strategies to prevent youth tobacco use, including higher tobacco taxes, strong smoke-free laws, prevention programs and raising the tobacco age to 21."
In Arizona, tobacco use claims 8,300 lives and costs $2.38 billion in health care bills each year. Currently, 14.1 percent of Arizona's high school students smoke.
On Kick Butts Day, kids join in creative events that range from classroom activities about the harmful ingredients in cigarettes to rallies at state capitols.
In Arizona, activities include:
Youth from Navajo County and throughout Arizona will join STAND (Students Taking a New Direction) for a day in the Capitol, where they will meet with Arizona legislators to express their feelings on tobacco products. Over 20 youth coalitions will join the event, which will include tobacco education booths. Time: 11 AM. Location: 1700 West Washington Street, Phoenix. Contact: Vicky Solomon (928) 243-2014.
The Seifert School-Age Center at Ft Huachuca will hold their second Annual Kick Butts Carnival, with a variety of games and displays for children and families to learn more about the dangers of tobacco and win prizes. Time: 3:00 PM. Location: Building 52056 Hatfield Street, Ft. Huachuca. Contact: Tracy Owens (520) 533-7633.
Davis-Monthan AFB Youth Programs in Tucson will create a graffiti wall for youth to write messages, draw pictures, and express the impact of smoking artistically. Time: 4 PM. Location: 5915 East Quijota Blvd, Building 6000, Tucson. Contact: Mary Schuler (520) 228-8844.
The Cochise County Youth Health Coalition in Sierra Vista will host an informative table at the Mall at Sierra Vista to hand out information and encourage other teens to take a stand against tobacco use. Time: 2 PM. Location: 2200 El Mercado Loop, Sierra Vista. Contact: Hillary Kolano (678) 717-7863.
On March 23, Yavapai Anti-Tobacco Coalition of Youth in Cottonwood will create a graffiti wall at Cottonwood Middle School and a sidewalk display at Cottonwood High School, both displayed on busy streets to raise awareness of the dangers of tobacco. Time: 2:30. Location: 10 South 6th Street, Cottonwood. Contact: Jen Mabery (928) 301-6143.
All events are on March 16 unless otherwise indicated. For a full list of Kick Butts Day activities in Arizona, visit www.kickbuttsday.org/map. Additional information about tobacco, including state-by-state statistics, can be found at www.tobaccofreekids.org.
SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids