WASHINGTON, March 11, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Kids in Alabama 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 Alabama, tobacco companies spend $216.1 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 Alabama, tobacco use claims 8,600 lives and costs $1.88 billion in health care bills each year. Currently, 18 percent of Alabama'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 Alabama, activities include:
The Mobile County Health Department Student Working Against Tobacco and United States Marines in Mobile will host a relay challenge to educate the public on the importance of smoke-free air. Participants will also encourage businesses to add "Smoke-Free Facility" stickers to their buildings. Time: 10 AM. Location: 300 Conti Street, Mobile. Contact: Harold Jones (251) 544-2064.
The Council on Substance Abuse – NCADD, Alabama Department of Public Health, and Troy University will be in Montgomery to take a stand against tobacco. They will rally alongside student leaders from the Youth Advisory Board to create a tobacco-free Montgomery. Time: 10 AM. Location: 600 Dexter Avenue, Montgomery. Contact: Antonio Edwards (305) 766-3316.
The Partnership for a Tobacco-Free Shoals and Smoke-Free Shoals will organize students from local middle schools and high schools in Sheffield to compete to clean-up cigarette butts around the area. Students will also learn from adult sponsors on how and why they would quit smoking. Time: 8 AM. Location: 101 Mable Avenue, Sheffield. Contact: Melanie Dickens (256) 740-1626.
Students in Dothan-Houston County will commit to be tobacco-free and write their feelings on Big Tobacco's lies and manipulation on a billboard. The Dothan-Houston County Substance Abuse Partnership will place that billboard at a major intersection in Dothan for everyone to see. Time: 3:30 PM. Location: 355 North Oates Street, Suites 4, Dothan. Contact: Susan Trawick (334) 701-5772.
All events are on March 16 unless otherwise indicated. For a full list of Kick Butts Day activities in Alabama, 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