WASHINGTON, March 11, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Kids in Massachusetts 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 Massachusetts, tobacco companies spend $147.6 million annually on marketing efforts.
In Massachusetts, health advocates are urging the legislature to approve a package of measures to further reduce tobacco use. These measures would prohibit tobacco sales to anyone under age 21, end the sale of tobacco products in pharmacies and add e-cigarettes to the existing smoke-free air law.
"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. Massachusetts should stand with its kids by raising the tobacco age to 21 and taking other action to reduce tobacco use."
In Massachusetts, tobacco use claims 9,300 lives and costs $4.08 billion in health care bills each year. Currently, 10.7 percent of Massachusetts'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 Massachusetts, activities include:
The 84 Youth Movement, with participants from across Massachusetts, will rally at the State House in Boston to speak with legislators about communities targeted by Big Tobacco. This is an opportunity for youth to realize that they can create change and become a tobacco-free generation. Time: 8:30 AM. Location: 24 Beacon Street, Boston. Contact: Jenna Carter (617) 279-2240.
All events are on March 16 unless otherwise indicated. For a full list of Kick Butts Day activities in Massachusetts, 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