WASHINGTON, March 11, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Kids in Texas 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 Texas, tobacco companies spend $631.7 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 Texas, tobacco use claims 28,000 lives and costs $8.85 billion in health care bills each year. Currently, 14.1 percent of Texas'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 Texas, activities include:
On March 12, the Tobacco Prevention and Control Coalition in Pharr is holding a 5K family fun walk/run, empowering the community to work together to increase awareness on the dangerous effects of tobacco. Time: 7:30 AM. Location: Jones Box Park, West Rosa Lane, Pharr. Contact: Melisa Tejada, (956) 787-0004 Ext. 19.
Youth at the Barbara Jordan Community Center in San Antonio will trace their images on sidewalks near the community center to "speak the truth for the unspoken" and raise awareness of tobacco's health risks. Snacks will be provided. Location: 2803 E. Commerce Street, San Antonio. Contact: Damika Burton (210) 271-7232 Ext. 309.
The Association for the Advancement of Mexican Americans (AAMA) DiNo Program in Houston will host a spring festival including a basketball tournament, arts and crafts, and family-friendly games. Various community partners will join to promote a tobacco-free lifestyle. Time: 11 AM. Location: 6001 East Gulf Freeway, Houston. Contact: Adriana Dibello (713) 926-9491.
The Alcohol and Drug Abuse Council for the Concho Valley is teaming up with the San Angelo YMCA to hold a youth kickball event and educate children about the dangers of cigarettes. Time: 9 AM. Location: 353 South Randolph Street, San Angelo. Contact: Chelsea Ashton (325) 224-3481.
On March 24, students from Ingleside High School will hold a march to raise awareness about tobacco products not currently regulated by the FDA, including e-cigarettes and vape pens. Students will hand out flyers and hold signs in heavily trafficked areas. Time: 7:40 AM. Location: 2807 Mustang Drive, Ingleside. Contact: Donna Gonzales (361) 739-4501.
All events are on March 16 unless otherwise indicated. For a full list of Kick Butts Day activities in Texas, 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