WASHINGTON, March 10, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Kids in Indiana will unite against tobacco use on March 15 as they join thousands of young people nationwide to mark 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 encourage their peers to be tobacco-free, reject tobacco companies' devious marketing and urge elected officials to help make the next generation tobacco-free.
This year, Kick Butts Day is focusing attention on how tobacco companies are enticing kids with a growing market of sweet-flavored products such as electronic cigarettes and cigars, threatening to addict a new generation. These products have proved popular with kids. From 2011 to 2015, e-cigarette use among high school students jumped from 1.5 percent to 16 percent nationwide, and more kids now use e-cigarettes than regular cigarettes. In addition, more high school boys now smoke cigars than cigarettes. E-cigarettes and cigars are sold in a wide assortment of candy and fruit flavors, such as gummy bear, cotton candy and fruit punch.
Tobacco companies also continue to spend huge sums to market cigarettes and smokeless tobacco, much of it reaching kids. Nationwide, tobacco companies spend $9.1 billion a year – one million dollars every hour – on marketing. In Indiana, tobacco companies spend $284.5 million annually on marketing efforts.
In Indiana, a coalition of health, business and education leaders have launched the "Raise It For Health" campaign to raise the state tobacco tax by $1.50 per pack and restore funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs.
"On Kick Butts Day, kids stand up to the tobacco industry, and our nation's leaders must stand with them," said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. "We've made great strides in reducing youth smoking, but candy-flavored products like e-cigarettes and cigars threaten this progress. We need strong FDA regulation to protect kids from these sweet-flavored products. And elected officials at all levels should support proven strategies that prevent youth tobacco use, including higher tobacco taxes, strong smoke-free laws, funding prevention programs and raising the tobacco age to 21."
In Indiana, tobacco use claims 11,100 lives and costs $2.93 billion in health care bills each year. Currently, 12 percent of Indiana'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 Indiana, activities include:
On March 11, Intersect Inc. Coalition and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) chapters will hold a community day to pick up cigarette butts in the Dickmann Downtown Center Park. Their mission is to persuade the parks department to make the park smoke free. Time: 10 AM. Location: 1135 Meridian Street, Anderson. Contact: Virgil Jones (765) 602-7229.
On March 14, youth from Westfield Middle School will decorate sidewalks with Kick Butts Day messages while completing a pledge to stay smoke free. Time: 11:15 AM. Location: 345 W. Hoover Street, Westfield. Contact: Holly Wheeler (317) 374-7857.
On March 14, iLEAD Youth, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Vigo County, and Vigo County
Tobacco Prevention & Cessation Coalition (TPC) will kick tobacco to the curb by chalking statistics on Woodrow Wilson Middle School's sidewalks. Time: 4 PM. Location: 301 S. 25th Street, Terre Haute. Contact: Khrista Beliles (765) 721-2475.
The Ripley County Health Department, in partnership with Ripley County Drug Awareness Coalition, the Southeastern Indiana Career Center and the Health Occupation Students of America, will host an anti-tobacco rally, health fair and balloon launch. Time: 9:30 AM. Location: 901 W. US 50, Versailles. Contact: Holley Rose (812) 593-5765.
Minority Health Coalition Elkhart will help youth "Skate Out Tobacco" during a free event at Holiday Skate Center. The event will educate youth about big tobacco companies' deceptive marketing tactics and encourage a tobacco-free lifestyle. Time: 4:30 PM. Location: 28736 CR 20, Elkhart. Contact: Velishea Billings (574) 226-5400.
Minority Health Coalition of Marion County and Anthem Forest Manor Multi Service Center will host a graffiti wall and pledge event for Indianapolis youth. Community leaders are invited to raise awareness of tobacco cessation. Time: 3 PM. Location: 5603 E 38th Street, Indianapolis. Contact: Tiffany Nichols (317) 517-7328.
The Baker Youth Club and Kosciusko County Tobacco Free Coalition will host a #BeTheFirst Pledge Wall where youth will take a stand to be tobacco-free. Time: 3 PM. Location: 1401 East Smith Street, Warsaw. Contact: Heidi Blake (574) 551-5663.
All events are on March 15 unless otherwise indicated. For a full list of Kick Butts Day activities in Indiana, visit www.kickbuttsday.org/map. Additional information about tobacco, including state-by-state statistics, can be found at www.tobaccofreekids.org.
To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/indiana-kids-to-kick-butts-on-march-15-300421725.html
SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids