WASHINGTON, March 11, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Kids in Arkansas 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 Arkansas, tobacco companies spend $119 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 Arkansas, tobacco use claims 5,800 lives and costs $1.21 billion in health care bills each year. Currently, 19.1 percent of Arkansas'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 Arkansas, activities include:
On March 14, Madison County Health Coalition in partnership with Students Trying to Reduce the Use of Tobacco (STRUT) will spell out, "Tobacco Kills" with cups sparking conversation about the harmful long-term effects of tobacco. Time: 9 AM. Location: 317 North Gaskill Street, Huntsville. Contact: Brenda Patterson (479) 738-2612.
Arkansas youth will take a stand with a silent march and an anti-tobacco rally at the Arkansas State Capitol. Supported by legislators, health advocates and the Director of the Tobacco Control Board, there will be a special thanks given to retailers throughout the state that have anti-tobacco signage, and work hard to have a clean record of no sales to minors. Time: 11:15 AM. Location: 500 Woodlane Street, Little Rock. Contact: Genine Perez (501) 310-0607.
Little Rock AFB Youth Programs will be dancing for control against tobacco with a Flash Mob featuring the popular Watch Me Whip/Nae Nae dance at the Walters Community Center. Time: 4:30 PM. Location: 940 Arnold Drive Suite 404, Jacksonville. Contact: Katrina Ceaser 501-416-7868.
In cooperation with the county judge's office, and in partnership with activist Shelby Turner, North Arkansas Partnership for Health Education, Tobacco Education Network, and the Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program will host an organized pick up of all cigarette butts on the County Courthouse Grounds to expand awareness to have an ordinance passed to make the Courthouse Grounds a tobacco-free zone. Time: 4 PM. Location: 100 North Main Street, Harrison. Contact: Patrick Hunter (870) 754-6488.
On March 19, The Legacy Initiatives, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Southwest Region Prevention, City of Texarkana, and the Arkansas Department of Health will host a community health day featuring a booth to sign the petition for a tobacco-free park policy at the Bobby Ferguson Park. There will also be a 5K "cold turkey" run/walk encouraging smokers to quit and materials for tobacco prevention and cessation will be distributed. Time: 9 AM. Location: Arkansas Highway 245 and IH 30, Texarkana. Contact: Alisha Williams: (870) 642-8937.
All events are on March 16 unless otherwise indicated. For a full list of Kick Butts Day activities in Arkansas, 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