Kansas Kids to 'Kick Butts' on March 16

State Leaders Urged to Make the Next Generation Tobacco-Free

Mar 11, 2016, 10:00 ET from Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

WASHINGTON, March 11, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Kids in Kansas 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 Kansas, tobacco companies spend $82.6 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 Kansas, tobacco use claims 4,400 lives and costs $1.12 billion in health care bills each year. Currently, 10.2 percent of Kansas'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 Kansas, activities include:

On March 15, local youth of Fort Riley will visualize tobacco's negative health effects with a "Not A Replacement" photo board at the Forsyth East School Age Center. The event will feature kids taking selfies proclaiming that they are #NotAReplacement for smokers who die from tobacco. Time: 4 PM. Location: 2420 H Avenue, Fort Riley. Contact: Nicole Buse (785) 209-1314.

The McConnell Air Force Base Youth Programs are taking a stand against teen tobacco use with a health fair at McConnell Air Force Base, including educational games and tobacco education booths. Time: 4 PM. Location: 3015 Arnold Boulevard, Building 2800, McConnell AFB. Contact: Kimberly Sheridan (316) 759-4070.  

On March 22, the Mill Valley Teens Against Smoking in Kansas (TASK) will host their 11th annual Kick Butts Day Volleyball Tournament for students at Mill Valley High School. The tournament will host 12 teams, trivia contests and a tobacco death toll display to educate on the dangers of tobacco. All proceeds from the event will be donated to the American Cancer Society. Time: 7 PM. Location: 5900 Monticello Road, Shawnee. Contact: Amy McClure (913) 422-4351.

On March 30, youth from Iola High School will attend a lunch event to learn about tobacco use. Students will be encouraged to participate in signing a Memorial Wall to remember those who have passed due to smoking-related illness while pledging to help someone they know who uses tobacco products quit. Time: 11 AM. Location: 300 E. Jackson Avenue, Iola. Contact: Amy Karr (620) 363-0886.

On March 31, youth from Humboldt Middle School will plaster their school with posters about Big Tobacco to send a message to tobacco manufacturing companies that students are #NotAReplacement and should not be marketing targets for tobacco products. Time: 8 AM. Location: 1105 Bridge Street, Humboldt. Contact: Amy Karr (620) 363-0886.

All events are on March 16 unless otherwise indicated. For a full list of Kick Butts Day activities in Kansas, visit www.kickbuttsday.org/map. Additional information about tobacco, including state-by-state statistics, can be found at www.tobaccofreekids.org.

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SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids