WASHINGTON, March 11, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Kids in Kentucky 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 Kentucky, tobacco companies spend $292.8 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 Kentucky, tobacco use claims 8,900 lives and costs $1.92 billion in health care bills each year. Currently, 17.9 percent of Kentucky'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 Kentucky, activities include:
Local youth from the SMACC Club are taking a stand against tobacco. Students from Paris City High School and Bourbon County High School will team up to conduct a flash mob at the Paris Municipal Building. The students will express their concerns about the consequences of tobacco use to move elected officials and the community closer to a smoke-free workplace ordinance. Time: 4 PM. Location: 525 High Street, Paris. Contact: Emily Cain (859) 707-1480.
In an effort to inform students about tobacco use prevention, the Casey Youth Coalition will coordinate a flash mob at Casey County Middle School to educate students on the importance of abstaining from tobacco. Time: 11:30 AM. Location: 1673 East Highway 70, Liberty. Contact: Cathy Williams (606) 706-6552.
The Clark County Kentucky Agency for Substance Abuse Policy is engaging children at Baker Intermediate School for a Kick Butts Bookmark contest. Students will design bookmarks with the theme of tobacco prevention. The winner of the contest will have their design printed and distributed around the town, including in the public library and city hall. Time: 1:30 PM. Location: 1 Educational Plaza Drive, Winchester. Contact: Melissa Stocker (859) 608-1376.
In efforts to implement a smoke-free campus in Covington, the Healthy Place to Work & Learn Tobacco Free Task Force will organize a cigarette butt cleanup to remove this growing eyesore on the grounds of Gateway Community & Technology College. Time: 10 AM. Location: 516 Madison Avenue, Covington. Contact: Kylie Keene (859) 815-7788.
All events are on March 16 unless otherwise indicated. For a full list of Kick Butts Day activities in Kentucky, 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