WASHINGTON, March 11, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Kids in Michigan 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 Michigan, tobacco companies spend $308.8 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."
Health advocates in Michigan are supporting a statewide bill to prohibit tobacco sales to anyone under age 21, a move that will reduce tobacco use among young people and save lives.
In Michigan, tobacco use claims 16,200 lives and costs $4.59 billion in health care bills each year. Currently, 11.8 percent of Michigan'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 Michigan, activities include:
University of Michigan students will beautify their campus by spreading public awareness for tobacco pollution reduction. Students will conduct a tobacco butt clean up, count and evaluate strategies for the future. Time: 2 PM. Location: 1415 Washington Heights, Ann Arbor. Contact: Dragana Spasevska (586) 215-6225.
Chippewa Count Health Department will work with youth service groups at Sault Area Middle School to raise awareness and advocate for tobacco-free living on Kick Butts Day. Time: 11:40 AM. Location: 684 Marquette Avenue, Sault Ste. Marie. Contact: Steve Carey (906) 635-3636.
Union City High School students in Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) will be taking a bold stand against tobacco by creating tombstones to illustrate the harmful effects of smoking. Students will also have guest speakers educating them on the dangers of tobacco use. Time: 11 AM. Location: 430 St. Joseph Street, Union City. Contact: Richard Maples (517) 741-3323.
South Eastern Michigan Indians, Inc. will bring awareness to children and young adults about tobacco awareness. Youth will learn about the dangerous contents of a cigarette and the harmful effects it has on the body. Time: 12:30 PM. Location: 26641 Lawrence, Center Line. Contact: Clara La Rush (586) 756-1350.
On March 18, William Ford Elementary's ACCESS will celebrate Kick Butts Day by conducting research and creating informational t-shirts. They will also present anti-smoking brochures in class. Time: 4 PM. Location: 14749 Alber, Dearborn. Contact: Fatima Abdulla (313) 415-4798.
All events are on March 16 unless otherwise indicated. For a full list of Kick Butts Day activities in Michigan, 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