WASHINGTON, March 11, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Kids in Colorado 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 Colorado, tobacco companies spend $139.1 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 Colorado, health advocates are supporting a proposed November ballot initiative to significantly increase the state's tobacco tax. The state's current tobacco tax (84 cents) is barely half the national average. Increasing tobacco taxes is a proven way to reduce smoking, especially among kids.
In Colorado, tobacco use claims 5,100 lives and costs $1.89 billion in health care bills each year. Currently, 10.7 percent of Colorado'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 Colorado, activities include:
On March 15, the Estes Valley Recreation and Parks District and the Larimer County Health Department will host an assembly for all 9-12 grade students, led by the local TobaccNO Youth Coalition at Estes Park High School in Estes Park. Time: 1:30 PM. Location: 1600 Manford Avenue, Estes Park. Contact: Chelsie Covey (970) 498-6716.
PACT Youth Advocates and the Weld County Department of Public Health and Environment will host tabling and face-to-face tutoring sessions to educate students about the dangers of tobacco and tobacco marketing at GOAL Academy in Greeley. This event will give students a chance to stand up and speak out against tobacco use on or near school campuses and to show support for tobacco-free school policies. Time: 8 AM. Location: 2050 Greeley Mall, Greeley. Contact: Lindsey Sides (970) 222-4313.
Mesa Middle School in Castle Rock will host a #NotaReplacement event where students will learn about the truth of Big Tobacco by educational posters hung around school. Each student will be offered a pledge card, which will be signed and hung in the hallways, to promise to stay tobacco-free. Time: 10:30 AM. Location: 365 Mitchell Street, Castle Rock. Contact: Anya Zavadil-Hill (720) 257-4432.
The PACT Youth Advocates and the Weld County Department of Public Health and Environment will empower youth to support tobacco-free policies at Fort Lupton High School in Fort Lupton through informational resources provided at lunch hour. This event will give students a chance to stand up and speak out against tobacco use on or near school campuses and to show support for tobacco-free school policies. Time: 10:30 AM. Location: 530 Reynolds Street, Fort Lupton. Contact: Lindsey Sides (970) 222-4313.
The PACT Youth Advocates and the Weld County Department of Public Health and Environment will empower youth to support tobacco-free policies at Greeley Central High School in Greeley through informational resources. Students will conduct a cigarette butt clean-up on or near their school campus. Time: 10:30 AM. Location: 1515 14th Avenue, Greeley. Contact: Lindsey Sides (970) 222-4313.
All events are on March 16 unless otherwise indicated. For a full list of Kick Butts Day activities in Colorado, 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