WASHINGTON, March 16, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Thousands of youth nationwide are taking a stand against tobacco today for the 21st annual Kick Butts Day, sponsored by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. More than 1,000 events are taking place across the United States and around the world for this annual day of youth activism. (A map and list of events in each state can be found at kickbuttsday.org/map.)
On Kick Butts Day, youth encourage their peers to stay tobacco-free, demand that tobacco companies stop marketing deadly, addictive products to them and encourage their communities to take bold action to make the next generation tobacco-free.
The United States has made enormous progress in reducing youth smoking and cut the smoking rate among high school students by more than half, from a high of 36.4 percent in 1997 to 15.7 percent in 2013. However, recent surveys show that youth use of some tobacco products is on the rise, with youth use of electronic cigarettes tripling from 2013 to 2014.
In addition, tobacco use remains the nation's No. 1 cause of preventable death, claiming more than 480,000 lives and costing $170 billion in health care expenses each year. According to the most recent U.S. Surgeon General's report on tobacco, 5.6 million kids alive today will die prematurely from tobacco-related diseases without urgent action to prevent it.
To accelerate progress, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and other health advocates are urging elected officials to support effective strategies to reduce tobacco use, including higher tobacco taxes, comprehensive smoke-free air laws, well-funded tobacco prevention programs and raising the minimum legal sale age for tobacco products to 21. There is strong momentum across the country for raising the tobacco age to 21, with the state of Hawaii and at least 135 cities and counties in nine states having done so. Last week, the California Legislature passed such legislation.
In conjunction with Kick Butts Day, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and the CVS Health Foundation today announced seven new grant recipients in the "Making the Next Generation Tobacco-Free" grant program – as part of Be The First, CVS Health's $50 million, five-year initiative to help deliver the nation's first tobacco-free generation. CVS Health has committed $5 million in grants over five years in partnership with the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. The new grant recipients are:
- National Association of School Nurses in Silver Spring, Md.
- New Jersey Global Advisors on Smokefree Policy (NJ GASP) in Summit, N.J.
- North Carolina Alliance for Health in Morrisville, N.C.
- Rhode Island Mentoring Partnership in Warwick, R.I.
- Southeastern Regional Action Council in Norwich, Conn.
- Southwest Louisiana Area Health Education Center in Lafayette, La.
- UMOM New Day Centers in Phoenix, Ariz.
"We've made amazing progress in reducing youth smoking and can make the next generation tobacco-free," said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. "Through efforts like Kick Butts Day and our partnership with the CVS Health Foundation, we're able to help communities across the country expand tobacco prevention resources and make sure kids never start using tobacco."
SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids