WASHINGTON, March 10, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Kids in Missouri will unite against tobacco use on March 15 as they join thousands of young people nationwide to mark 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 encourage their peers to be tobacco-free, reject tobacco companies' devious marketing and urge elected officials to help make the next generation tobacco-free.
This year, Kick Butts Day is focusing attention on how tobacco companies are enticing kids with a growing market of sweet-flavored products such as electronic cigarettes and cigars, threatening to addict a new generation. These products have proved popular with kids. From 2011 to 2015, e-cigarette use among high school students jumped from 1.5 percent to 16 percent nationwide, and more kids now use e-cigarettes than regular cigarettes. In addition, more high school boys now smoke cigars than cigarettes. E-cigarettes and cigars are sold in a wide assortment of candy and fruit flavors, such as gummy bear, cotton candy and fruit punch.
Tobacco companies also continue to spend huge sums to market cigarettes and smokeless tobacco, much of it reaching kids. Nationwide, tobacco companies spend $9.1 billion a year – one million dollars every hour – on marketing. In Missouri, tobacco companies spend $339.7 million annually on marketing efforts.
"On Kick Butts Day, kids stand up to the tobacco industry, and our nation's leaders must stand with them," said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. "We've made great strides in reducing youth smoking, but candy-flavored products like e-cigarettes and cigars threaten this progress. We need strong FDA regulation to protect kids from these sweet-flavored products. And elected officials at all levels should support proven strategies that prevent youth tobacco use, including higher tobacco taxes, strong smoke-free laws, funding prevention programs and raising the tobacco age to 21."
In Missouri, tobacco use claims 11,000 lives and costs $3.03 billion in health care bills each year. Currently, 11.0 percent of Missouri'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 Missouri, activities include:
St. Louis youth will make posters to promote smoking cessation. They will kick tobacco to the curb by placing these posters all over St. Louis-area, including military bases, high schools, middle schools, community centers, hospitals and fitness facilities. Time: 3:30 PM. Location: 500 S. Meramec Avenue, St. Louis. Contact: Sophie Bernstein (314) 495-6209.
Tobacco Free Missouri Youth will meet at the Missouri State Capitol to participate in general and breakout sessions, lunch, a team spirit contest and leadership awards to celebrate being tobacco-free. Time: 10 AM. Location: 301 W. High Street, Jefferson City. Contact: Ginny Chadwick (573) 999-2641.
Morgan County Tobacco Free Youth, Morgan County Community Leaders Educating about Resistance (CLEAR) and the Morgan County Health Center will hold a rally with state lawmakers to educate the community about the risks of tobacco and second hand smoke. Youth will also have the opportunity to meet and advocate for tobacco-free policies with their elected state representatives. Time: 10 AM. Location: Harry S. Truman State Office Building, 301 W. High Street, Jefferson City. Contact: Donna Chapman (573) 378-8712.
Stone County Health Department, Tri-Lakes Clean Air Alliance and Stone County Health Coalition will work with Girl Scouts in Reeds Spring to pick up billions of cigarette butts, followed by a meet and greet dinner. Time: 3:30 PM. Location: Tablerock Community Bank, Branson West. Contact: Monica Spittler (808) 854-5748.
Youth With Vision, Tri-County Mental Health and the Kansas City Police Department will hold an annual anti-tobacco kick ball tournament. Youth will play kick ball and other fun activities that promote a smoke-free lifestyle. Time: 3 PM. Location: 4100 N. Briarcliff Road, Kansas City. Contact: Madelyn Judah (816) 830-3037.
Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) at Smithville High School will pledge to be the first tobacco-free generation by chalking their sidewalk with personal messages about why they want to #BeTheFirst. Time: 7 AM. Location: 645 S. Commercial Avenue, Smithville. Contact: Claire Prindable (816) 532-0405.
All events are on March 15 unless otherwise indicated. For a full list of Kick Butts Day activities in Missouri, visit www.kickbuttsday.org/map. Additional information about tobacco, including state-by-state statistics, can be found at www.tobaccofreekids.org.
To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/missouri-kids-to-kick-butts-on-march-15-300421816.html
SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids