WASHINGTON, March 11, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Kids in Alaska 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 Alaska, tobacco companies spend $20 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 Alaska, tobacco use claims 600 lives and costs $438 million in health care bills each year. Currently, 11.1 percent of Alaska'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 Alaska, activities include:
On March 12, Kodiak Alaska's Revolution Against Tobacco (K.A.R.A.T) will help host a Disc Golf tournament at the Kodiak Island Racing Association (KIRA) that is open to the public. Tobacco facts will be placed on baskets, and participants are asked to list a fact from the course on their scorecard. Time: 11 AM. Location: KIRA, Fairgrounds Entrance in Bells Flats, 3449 East Rezanof Drive, Kodiak. Contact: Sharon Wolkoff (907) 486-9824.
Petersburg Indian Association (PIA) Tobacco Prevention and Control (TPC) will host a Kick Butts Day Celebration at the Petersburg Recreation Center. PIA's TPC Grantee will also work on updating the city's smoke free ordinance, as well as a large poster for everybody to write their support for the updated ordinance. Time: 6 PM. Location: 500 North 3rd Street, Petersburg. Contact: Katie Yeckley (907) 772-3636.
Youth of Juneau High Schools will host an anti-tobacco graffiti wall and the tobacco industry's "dirty laundry" by hanging laundry on clothes lines in the Downtown Juneau Heritage Coffee Roasting Co. cafe. The group will host an informational table, including a call to action to share reasons to be tobacco-free, to accompany these eye-catching visuals. Time: 3 PM. Location: 130 Front Street, Juneau. Contact: Leah Todd (206) 919-7961.
Active duty and retired members of the US Coast Guard, as well as their families, who sign a pledge card committing to be tobacco-free will receive a coupon for $5 off a purchase of $20 or more at the Coast Guard Exchange (CGX) Ketchikan. The signed pledge cards will be posted on a commitment wall inside the CGX store. Time: 9 AM. Location: 1300 Stedman Street, Ketchikan. Contact: Tamara Snyder (907) 228-0250.
On March 23, the Alaska Tobacco Control Alliance (ATCA) Youth Leaders and the American Lung Association will host an interactive display at three local high schools that will "Air out Big Tobacco's Dirty Laundry." Participants can view the interactive displays, ask their peers questions about tobacco, and try for a chance to win prizes. Time: 10:45 AM. Location: 3750 Geist Road, Fairbanks. Contact: Ashley Strauch (907) 987-7638.
All events are on March 16 unless otherwise indicated. For a full list of Kick Butts Day activities in Alaska, 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