Nevada Leaders Urged to Increase Cigarette Tax by $1.20
WASHINGTON, March 21, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Kids in Nevada 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.
In Nevada, health advocates are calling on state leaders to increase the cigarette tax by $1.20 per pack in order to prevent kids from smoking and raise much-needed revenue to address the state's budget shortfall and fund critical programs such as health care and education. According to a report by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, a $1.20 cigarette tax increase in Nevada would have the following benefits:
- Raise $76.8 million in new annual revenue;
- Prevent 21,800 kids from becoming smokers;
- Spur 16,300 current adult smokers to quit;
- Save 11,200 residents from premature, smoking-caused deaths; and
- Save $536.4 million in health care costs.
"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 Nevada, tobacco use claims 3,300 lives and costs $565 million in health care bills each year. Currently, 17 percent of the state's high school students smoke, and 10,600 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 Nevada include (all events are on March 23 unless otherwise noted):
On March 20, in Pahrump, participants will walk to Petrack Park and pick up cigarette butts immediately following the HOPE Run at the Betty Loop. A pledge wall will also be created to allow kids to make a promise not to use tobacco. Time: 8 a.m. Location: 150 N. Highway 160, Pahrump. Contact: Jake Trice (702) 328-8799.
Student advocates from the Sierra Vista Key Club and Teens Against Tobacco Use will perform a flash mob at Sierra Vista High School to share the dangers of tobacco and related statistics. Time: 11 a.m. Location: 8100 W. Robindale Road, Las Vegas. Contact: Chantelle Doerksen (775) 513-2879.
Smoke-Free Gaming of America will be taking their message of smoke-free casinos to the Las Vegas strip with signs announcing the 1,200 people who die from tobacco-related causes every day. Time: 10 a.m. Location: Las Vegas Boulevard South, Las Vegas. Contact: Stephanie Steinberg (303) 819-3131.
On March 30, Students Taking on Prevention in Carson City will travel with a bus, hearse and sheriff escort to the State House where a Nevada Assemblyman Kelly Kite and State Senator James Settelmayer will read a proclamation about addiction and dangerous substances. Time: 9:30 a.m. Location: 401 S. Carson Street, Carson City. Contact: Linda Gilkerson (775) 450-6654.
Note to the media: For a list of Kick Butts Day events in Nevada, visit www.kickbuttsday.org/events. Additional information about tobacco, including state-by-state statistics, can be found at www.tobaccofreekids.org.
Frank Walsh, 202-745-5110
Ashley Rockhold, 202-296-5469
SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids