WASHINGTON, March 10, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Kids in Ohio will unite against tobacco use on March 15 as they join thousands of young people nationwide to mark 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 encourage their peers to be tobacco-free, reject tobacco companies' devious marketing and urge elected officials to help make the next generation tobacco-free.
This year, Kick Butts Day is focusing attention on how tobacco companies are enticing kids with a growing market of sweet-flavored products such as electronic cigarettes and cigars, threatening to addict a new generation. These products have proved popular with kids. From 2011 to 2015, e-cigarette use among high school students jumped from 1.5 percent to 16 percent nationwide, and more kids now use e-cigarettes than regular cigarettes. In addition, more high school boys now smoke cigars than cigarettes. E-cigarettes and cigars are sold in a wide assortment of candy and fruit flavors, such as gummy bear, cotton candy and fruit punch.
Tobacco companies also continue to spend huge sums to market cigarettes and smokeless tobacco, much of it reaching kids. Nationwide, tobacco companies spend $9.1 billion a year – one million dollars every hour – on marketing. In Ohio, tobacco companies spend $420.1 million annually on marketing efforts.
"On Kick Butts Day, kids stand up to the tobacco industry, and our nation's leaders must stand with them," said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. "We've made great strides in reducing youth smoking, but candy-flavored products like e-cigarettes and cigars threaten this progress. We need strong FDA regulation to protect kids from these sweet-flavored products. And elected officials at all levels should support proven strategies that prevent youth tobacco use, including higher tobacco taxes, strong smoke-free laws, funding prevention programs and raising the tobacco age to 21."
In Ohio, tobacco use claims 20,200 lives and costs $5.64 billion in health care bills each year. Currently, 15.1 percent of Ohio'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 Ohio, activities include:
The Richland County "Kick Butts with Art" show, held by the Community Action for Capable Youth, Inc., will create artwork and display it throughout the community. The art show will include canvas art, photographs and video public service announcements with anti-tobacco messaging. Time: 5 PM. Location: The Mansfield Art Center, 700 Marion Avenue, Mansfield. Contact: Tracee Anderson (419) 774-5683.
To illustrate their stance against tobacco, students in the River Valley High School's Stand group in Bidwell will create a visual display made out of cups in the fence at the school. Time: 7 AM. Location: 8785 State Route 160, Bidwell. Contact: Susan Swisher (740) 441-2957.
Ross High School's Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) and Stand members in Fremont will decorate the school grounds with chalk facts. They will also display information about the contents of cigarettes at tables during lunch and hand out bracelets and pins. Time: 7:30 AM. Location: 1100 North Street, Fremont. Contact: Charlotte Stonerook (419) 334-6365.
Students from Baldwin Wallace University in Berea will present a photo voice project with photos and narratives that reflect the impact tobacco has on youth. The activities will focus on raising the legal age for tobacco to 21 and increasing awareness about lung health, allergies and asthma. Health professionals will be on hand for assessments, prevention and education. Time: 11 AM. Location: 275 Eastland Road, Berea. Contact: Wendy Hyde (440) 465-0653.
Members of the Harrison Hills School's Students Against Destructive Decisions in Cadiz are holding a flash mob during lunch to draw attention to Kick Butts Day. The event will be accompanied by a walk to the courthouse, a tobacco-free pledge wall, and other educational displays. Time: 10 AM. Location: 440 E. Market Street, Cadiz. Contact: Kristen Foraker (740) 942-7714.
Springfield City High School's Stand members will hang posters in the elementary, middle and high schools, targeting the community with a social media campaign communicating the harmful effects of tobacco. Students will wear their Stand group t-shirts symbolizing their commitment to "standing up against tobacco" and being tobacco-free. Time: 7 AM. Location: Springfield City High School, 701 E. Home Road, Springfield. Contact: Sarah Pol (937) 390-5600.
As part of the Youth Advisory Board of Students Taking a New Direction, students from Claymont High School will hang banners and posters to "air out big tobacco's dirty laundry." The students will contact county legislators, set up informational displays at local libraries, and participate in the national #NotAReplacement social media campaign. Time: 7:30 AM. Location: 4205 Indian Hill Road S.E., Uhrichsville. Contact: Amy Miller (330) 440-7320.
All events are on March 15 unless otherwise indicated. For a full list of Kick Butts Day activities in Ohio, visit www.kickbuttsday.org/map. Additional information about tobacco, including state-by-state statistics, can be found at www.tobaccofreekids.org.
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SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids