Indiana Leaders Urged to Pass Strong, Statewide Smoke-Free Law
WASHINGTON, March 21, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --Kids in Indiana will take center stage in the fight against tobacco on March 23 as they join thousands of young people nationwide for the 16th annual Kick Butts Day. Hundreds of events are planned across the nation (for a list of local events see below).
Sponsored by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Kick Butts Day is an annual celebration of youth leadership and activism in the fight against tobacco use. Kids are sending two powerful messages on Kick Butts Day: They want the tobacco companies to stop targeting them with marketing for cigarettes and other tobacco products, and they want elected leaders to do more to protect them from tobacco.
The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and other public health advocates are calling on elected officials to support proven measures to reduce tobacco use and its devastating toll. As states struggle with budget deficits, legislators should increase tobacco taxes both to prevent kids from smoking and to raise revenue to balance budgets and fund critical programs. States should also enact smoke-free air laws that apply to all workplaces and public places and implement well-funded tobacco prevention and cessation programs.
In Indiana, health advocates are urging state leaders to enact a strong, statewide smoke-free law that applies to all workplaces, restaurants and bars. To date, 29 states and the District of Columbia have enacted smoke-free laws that cover all restaurants and bars. These laws protect workers and the public from secondhand smoke, which is a proven cause of lung cancer, heart disease and other serious illnesses.
"On Kick Butts Day, kids are standing up to the tobacco companies, and elected officials should stand with them by supporting proven tobacco prevention measures," said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. "We know what works to reduce smoking and other tobacco use. Every state should implement these proven solutions, including higher tobacco taxes, well-funded tobacco prevention programs and smoke-free air laws."
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. While the nation has made significant progress in reducing youth smoking, 19.5 percent of high school students still smoke.
In Indiana, tobacco use claims 9,700 lives and costs $2.08 billion in health care bills each year. Currently, 23.5 percent of the state's high school students smoke, and 36,500 kids try cigarettes for the first time each year.
On Kick Butts Day, kids turn the tables on Big Tobacco with events that range from "They put WHAT in a cigarette?" demonstrations to carnivals to rallies at state capitols. Activities in Indiana include (all events are on March 23 unless otherwise noted):
Students Working Against Tobacco(SWAT) in Richmond will host an afternoon of activities that will educate local youth from the four area Boys and Girls Clubs on the effects and risks of tobacco use. Time: 3:30 PM. Location: 1717 S L Street, Richmond. Contact: Stacey Steele (765) 962-6922.
In South Bend, students from the area elementary schools will gather at the Boys & Girls Club of St. Joseph to create a graffiti wall that will show parents and school officials that they are tobacco-free. Time: 3:00 PM. Location: 56660 Oak Road, South Bend. Contact: Camille Robinson (574) 292-1499.
In Lebanon, students from the Tiger X: The Alternative Club will set up a table during the lunch periods at Lebanon High School to show what tobacco companies put in cigarettes. Time: 11:15 AM. Location: 510 Essex Drive, Lebanon. Contact: Jackie McNutt (765) 482-0400.
On March 24, in Evansville, kids from local middle schools will gather at the local YMCA for a Youth Summit organized by Smokefree Communities. Youth will pick up cigarette butts and trace chalk outlines of 27 people representing the number of people who die every day in Indiana from tobacco-related illnesses. Time: 3:00 PM. Location: 22 NW 6th Street, Evansville. Contact: Terri Brown (270) 860-2422.