WASHINGTON, March 11, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Kids in Maine 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 Maine, tobacco companies spend $43.5 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 Maine, tobacco use claims 2,400 lives and costs $811 million in health care bills each year. Currently, 12.8 percent of Maine'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 Maine, activities include:
Youth at the Biddeford Teen Center in Biddeford will participate in Kick Butts Day by putting on a display of products that contain the dangerous chemicals that are found in cigarettes, such as batteries and paint. Anti-smoking handouts and healthy snacks will be provided. Time: 2:30 PM. Location: 550 Main Street, Biddeford. Contact: Karen Scarpinato (207) 282-4167.
Healthy Aroostook, a Healthy Maine Partnership and program of Aroostook County Action Program, in Aroostook County, will meet with youth about the dangers of smoking and hold a Point-Of-Sale Scavenger Hunt following the session. Time: 3 PM. Location: 84 Center Road, Easton. Contact: Jo-Ellen Kelley (207) 540-4885.
Students from The Eddy School will be visiting the 4th grade classes at Crescent Park Elementary School in Bethel, to share information about the dangers of smoking. Time: 9 AM. Location: 19 Crescent St, Bethel. Contact: Deb Webster (207) 381-7716.
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 Southwest Harbor Coast Guard Exchange (CGX). The signed pledge cards will be posted on a commitment wall inside the CGX store. Time: 9 AM. Location: 184 Clark Point Road, Southwest Harbor. Contact: Christine O'Shield (207) 244-5670.
Youth in Machias will plan and run a Health Expo event to educate students in grades 3-8 at Rose Gaffney Elementary School about the dangers of tobacco, drugs, alcohol, the truth about e-cigarettes, and healthy alternatives to smoking. Time: 8:15 AM. Location: 15 Rose Gaffney Road, Machias. Contact: Shannon Micklus (207) 263-8707.
All events are on March 16 unless otherwise indicated. For a full list of Kick Butts Day activities in Maine, 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