Oklahoma Kids Will 'Kick Butts' on Wednesday, March 20
State Leaders Urged to Support Tobacco Prevention Initiatives
WASHINGTON, March 15, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Kids in Oklahoma will stand up against tobacco on March 20 as they join thousands of young people nationwide for the 18th annual Kick Butts Day. More than 1,200 events are planned across the United States. (See below for a list of local events.)
Organized by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and sponsored by United Health Foundation, Kick Butts Day is an annual celebration of youth leadership and activism in the fight against tobacco use. On Kick Butts Day, youth will encourage their peers to stay tobacco-free. They will also educate their communities about the dangers of tobacco and the tobacco industry's harmful marketing practices.
This year on Kick Butts Day, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is highlighting the tobacco industry's products and marketing that entice kids to use tobacco. According to the Federal Trade Commission, tobacco companies spend $8.5 billion a year – nearly $1 million each hour – to market cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products. This marketing has an impact on kids:
- While the U.S. has greatly reduced youth smoking, 18.1 percent of high school students still smoke, and nearly 1,000 kids become regular smokers each day. Among youth smokers, 86 percent prefer Marlboro, Newport and Camel, which are the three most heavily advertised cigarette brands, according to the government's National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
- Tobacco companies have also introduced new products that appeal to kids, including cheap, sweet, colorfully-packaged small cigars that look just like cigarettes. Many cigars come in fruit and candy flavors such as strawberry, vanilla, peach and apple.
- In a 2012 report, the U.S. Surgeon General concluded that tobacco marketing causes kids to start and continue using tobacco products.
"On Kick Butts Day, kids will stand up and reject Big Tobacco's manipulative marketing," said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. "It's also a chance for elected leaders to commit to protecting kids from tobacco through policies such as tobacco taxes, smoke-free laws and prevention programs. We hope that legislators will listen to their young constituents and implement these proven solutions to reduce tobacco use and save lives."
Tobacco use is the number one cause of preventable death in the United States, killing more than 400,000 people and costing $96 billion in health care bills each year.
In Oklahoma, tobacco use claims 6,200 lives and costs $1.16 billion in health care bills each year. Currently, 17.9 percent of the state's high school students smoke.
On Kick Butts Day, kids turn the tables on Big Tobacco with events that range from "They put WHAT in a cigarette!?" demonstrations to health fairs to rallies at state capitols. Activities in Oklahoma include:
- On March 17, members of the Garfield County Tobacco-Free Coalition in Enid will host a Kick Butts Day kickball tournament for adults. Participants will also clean up cigarette butts in Meadowlake Park. Time: 2 PM. Location: Meadowlake Park, Enid. Contact: Joel Urdang (580) 213-6420 or Allison Seigars (580) 484-0410.
- Latinos M-POWER, a statewide tobacco prevention program from the Oklahoma State Department of Health, will display 16 mannequins representing the 16 people that die every day in Oklahoma from tobacco-related causes. The mannequins will be displayed in the parking lot of the Metro Technology Center in Oklahoma City. Time: 10 AM. Location: Metro Tech SW Branch, S.W 59th Street and Walker Street, Oklahoma City. Contact: Oscar Ruiz (405) 236-0701 ext. 125.
- North West Family Services, Inc. will work with youth and Major County Coalition members to pick up cigarette butts downtown to push the City of Fairview to become tobacco-free. Youth will present butts collected from downtown to the Fairview City Council along with tobacco-free policy recommendations. Time: 5 PM. Location: Life Wellness Center, 100 S. 7th Avenue, Fairview. Contact: Yolanda Creswell (580) 748-0768.
- On March 28, middle school students from Antlers will have an anti-tobacco rally on Main Street to educate town residents about the harmful effects of tobacco. Time: 1:30 PM. Location: Intersection of High Street and Main Street, Antlers. Contact: Dana Dunlap (580) 298-6624.
(Note: all events are on March 20 unless otherwise indicated.)
For a full list of Kick Butts Day events in Oklahoma, visit http://www.kickbuttsday.org/events. Additional information about tobacco, including state-by-state statistics, can be found at www.tobaccofreekids.org.
CONTACTS: Jennifer Arnold, 202-745-5113
Catherine Butsch, 202-296-5469
SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
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