WASHINGTON, March 11, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Kids in Connecticut 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 Connecticut, tobacco companies spend $80.4 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 Connecticut, tobacco use claims 4,900 lives and costs $2.03 billion in health care bills each year. Currently, 13.5 percent of Connecticut'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 Connecticut, activities include:
Glastonbury Community Action Partnership will hold an anti-tobacco rally at the River Front Community Center to advocate for tobacco-free parks. The event will also address the increase in e-cigarette use among teenagers. Time: 3 PM. Location: 300 Welles Street, Glastonbury. Contact: Kathy Harris (860) 633-0195.
On March 17, the Youth and Family Services of Haddam Killingworth will fight for tobacco-free youth one selfie at a time. Featuring a fun photo booth with props and slogans students will be educated about the dangers of tobacco and can pledge to live a tobacco-free life. Time: 10:30 AM. Location: 451 CT-81, Killingworth. Contact: Cristal Baldwin (860) 754-4902.
On March 18, Strong Middle School's Excellent Decisions Guiding Every Club (EDGE) will gather pledges to "Stomp out Smoking" and show they are #NotAReplacement by taking photos and sharing to social media to spread the anti-smoking message. The event will also include jeopardy and information booths. Time: 11:15 AM. Location: 191 Main Street, Durham. Contact: Kirsten Deitz (860) 349-7222 Ext. 103.
On April 2, PROMISE girls' club will educate others on the dangers of smoking and encourage quitting with Quit Kits at the Enfield Square Mall. The event will also feature a Graffiti wall where participants can pledge to be smoke-free. Time: 10 AM. Location: 90 Elm Street, Enfield. Contact: Gail Myers (860) 508-3001.
All events are on March 16 unless otherwise indicated. For a full list of Kick Butts Day activities in Connecticut, 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