WASHINGTON, March 11, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Kids in Georgia 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 Georgia, tobacco companies spend $348.7 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 Georgia, tobacco use claims 11,700 lives and costs $3.18 billion in health care bills each year. Currently, 12.8 percent of Georgia'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 Georgia, activities include:
On March 11, Child, Youth & School Services (CYSS) youth will perform a flash mob as a fight against tobacco at the Hunter School Age Center. Time: 5 PM. Location: 2599 South Perimeter Road, Savannah. Contact: Michelle George (912) 332-2331.
On March 17 and 18, Chattooga County 5th graders will learn about the dangers of tobacco in "Tar Wars," a program presented by the Northwest Georgia Regional Cancer Coalition and local high school students at Leroy Massey Elementary School and other elementary schools in the county. Time: 8 AM. Location: 403 Dot Johnson Drive, Summerville. Contact: Sandra Bethune (706) 857-3471.
The Newton High School FBLA chapter in Covington will host the 2nd annual "Kick the Habit" day featuring smoking cessation and other prevention programs for students. Time: 12 PM. Location: 1 Ram Way, Covington. Contact: Beverly Johnson (770) 787-2250.
Liberty County 4-H will participate in a Kick Butts Day selfie campaign proclaiming they are #NotAReplacement for smokers who die from tobacco. The group will gather at the Historic Liberty County Courthouse and promote the campaign to the Liberty County Commissioners and the City of Hinesville, Georgia Officials, and the Command of Ft. Stewart, Georgia. Time: 8 AM. Location: 100 Main Street, Suite 1500, Hinesville. Contact: Gypsy James (912) 876-2133.
H.E.A.R.T. To H.E.L.P (Helping Everyone Live Positive) is teaming up with Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) and the Performing Arts Team at Carver Schools of Health Science & Research and Arts on Kick Butts Day to encourage youth to stay tobacco-free and bring awareness to issues of tobacco in the Southwest Atlanta community. Time: 11 AM. Location: 55 McDonough Boulevard S.E., Atlanta. Contact: Ryan Burke (478) 957-2785.
All events are on March 16 unless otherwise indicated. For a full list of Kick Butts Day activities in Georgia, 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