WASHINGTON, March 11, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Kids in Indiana 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 Indiana, tobacco companies spend $288 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 Indiana, tobacco use claims 11,100 lives and costs $2.93 billion in health care bills each year. Currently, 13.7 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:
At the Lide White Memorial Boys & Girls Club in Madison, students will celebrate Kick Butts Day with an interactive fair. Kids will learn about the dangers of tobacco use through info booths, a coloring contest, a fact game and a Tombstone demo. Time: 3 PM. Location: 1151 M. S. H. Northgate Road, Madison. Contact: Brandi Poling (812) 265-5811.
At Shenandoah High School in Middletown, students from Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) will be airing out tobacco's dirty laundry by writing facts about tobacco use for their peers to read. Students will play a pop trivia game, put cups in a fence and air PSAs. Time: 11:30 AM. Location: 7354 West US 36, Middletown. Contact: Joy Gwinn (765) 354-6640.
The Minority Health Coalition of Elkhart County is giving county youth the chance to write a letter to tobacco companies to express how they feel about being targeted to become a replacement smoker. A display will also teach kids about the dangerous chemicals that go into cigarettes, such as ammonia and arsenic. Time: 4:30 PM. Location: 28736 Country Road 20, Elkhart. Contact: Velishea Billings (574) 536-9180.
Students from all over Boone County will be exposing how Big Tobacco promotes their products and influences youth through a photo project. Tobacco Free Boone County Teen Advocates will share their photographs with the community at the Drug Free Boone County meeting, where the public is free to attend. Time: 4 PM. Location: 515 CrownPointe Drive, Lebanon. Contact: Angie Dickerson (765) 482-6099.
On March 22, students at Bedford North Lawrence High School will learn how tobacco companies target youth to purchase their products through a schoolwide assembly hosted by Smoke Free Lawrence County and VOICE. Speakers include local elected officials, student leaders, and smoke-free advocates. Time: 8:30 AM. Location: 595 Stars Boulevard, Bedford. Contact: Karin DuBois (812) 340-6808.
All events are on March 16 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.
SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids