WASHINGTON, March 11, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Kids in New Jersey 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 New Jersey, tobacco companies spend $186.8 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 New Jersey, health advocates are supporting a statewide bill to prohibit tobacco sales to anyone under age 21, a move that will reduce tobacco use and save lives. Gov. Chris Christie vetoed such legislation in January. Advocates are working to build additional support for the bill to convince the governor to sign it or override his veto, if necessary.
In New Jersey, tobacco use claims 11,800 lives and costs $4.06 billion in health care bills each year. Currently, 12.9 percent of New Jersey'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 New Jersey, activities include:
US Coast Guard members and their families will be encouraged to sign a pledge card committing to be tobacco-free in exchange for a coupon at the CGX TRACEN Cape May. The signed pledge cards will be posted on a commitment wall inside the CGX store. Time: 9 AM. Location: 1 Munroe Avenue, Cape May. Contact: Kevin Carroll (609) 898-6346.
Peer leaders from the Bridgeton Youth to Youth program will facilitate a traveling science show called "What's in A Butt?" at district Pathways 21st Century Community Learning Centers. Students can spread awareness through their social media followers to win a prize. Time: 4 PM. Location: 550 Buckshutem Road, Bridgeton. Contact: Karen Barnett (856) 455-1684.
Dix Teen Program, JB MDL Drug and Alcohol Prevention, and Military Family Life Service will hold a jump rope challenge where smokers and non-smokers will compete in an endurance challenge to raise awareness about the impacts of smoking on lung health. Drug and alcohol experts will hold a question and answer session. Time: 4:30 PM. Location: 1279 Locust Street, Fort Dix. Contact: Desiree Wallace (609) 562-5061
Students Against Destructive Decisions in Fort Lee will create informative and persuasive anti-tobacco posters for health classes to educate their peers on tobacco's long-term effects. Time: 9 AM. Location: 467 Stillwell Avenue, Fort Lee. Contact: Stefanie Pinajian (201) 585-4660.
On March 23, Trenton Central High School will educate teens on the harmful effects of tobacco and what they can do to stand up to Big Tobacco. Time: 11:10 AM. Location: 135 E. Hanover Street, Trenton. Contact: Maria Parker (215) 357-4186.
All events are on March 16 unless otherwise indicated. For a full list of Kick Butts Day activities in New Jersey, 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