WASHINGTON, March 11, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Kids in New Mexico 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 Mexico, tobacco companies spend $37.2 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 Mexico, tobacco use claims 2,600 lives and costs $844 million in health care bills each year. Currently, 14.4% percent of New Mexico'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 Mexico, activities include:
Students from the Evolvement Program at Navajo Preparatory School will host an anti-tobacco rally and tobacco prevention workshops with their peers. Students will learn about the dangers of tobacco use through a body bag display, surveys and a scavenger hunt. Time: 11:45 AM. Location: 1220 West Apache Street, Farmington. Contact: Donna Fernandez (505) 326-6571 Ext. 311.
Students from La Academia Dolores Heurta Middle School in Las Cruces will host an anti-tobacco fair where students can learn about the dangers of smoking and pledge to be tobacco-free. Time: 11 AM. Location: 1480 N. Main Street. Contact: Javier Garcia (575) 636-7038.
The Los Alamos Public Schools Prevention Office has worked with students in the robotics and art classes from Los Alamos Middle School to take down tobacco and eliminate e-cigarettes. Robots will destroy cigarette replications for students to watch. Time: 11:30 AM. Location: 2101 Hawk Drive, Los Alamos. Contact: Bernadette Lauritzen (505) 663-3252.
The Los Alamos Public Schools Prevention Office is working with students from Los Alamos High School to inform their peers about the dangers of tobacco. Students from the Evolution Club educate peers about the dangers of hookah, and robots made by the robotics and arts classes will destroy cigarettes. Time: 11:30 AM. Location: 1300 Diamond Drive, Los Alamos. Contact: Bernadette Lauritzen (505) 663-3252.
On March 17, HEARTS Youth Coalition at Chaparral Middle School in Alamogordo will "Chalk the Walk." Students will write anti-smoking messages all over campus after school to start a conversation about tobacco with their peers. Time: 2 PM. Location: 1401 College Avenue, Alamogordo. Contact: Logan Schmaltz (701) 261-9189.
All events are on March 16 unless otherwise indicated. For a full list of Kick Butts Day activities in New Mexico, 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