WASHINGTON, March 11, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Kids in New York 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 New York, tobacco companies spend $235.1 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 New York, tobacco use claims 28,200 lives and costs $10.39 billion in health care bills each year. Currently, 7.3 percent of New York'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 New York, activities include:
Brooklyn Reality Check will host a "Brooklyn Conquer Big Tobacco" event at St. Francis College where students will participate in a competition to test their knowledge of statistics regarding tobacco marketing and smoke-free media. NFL Player David Nelson will lead a discussion about the power of student advocacy and leadership to create change. Time: 4 PM. Location: 180 Remsen Street, Brooklyn. Contact: Edric Robinson (646) 253-5905.
Newark Middle School Youth to Youth will create a graffiti wall at Newark Middle School to educate students about startling facts and the dangers of tobacco use. Time: 11 AM. Location: 701 Pierson Avenue, Newark. Contact: Katie DiSalvo (585) 332-3301.
Reality Check of Chemung, Schuyler, and Steuben, with the help of the Southern Tier Tobacco Awareness Coalition (STTAC), will host a hockey game for participants ages 12-18 in Elmira. Attendees will be educated about the dangers of tobacco use and encouraged to make a tobacco-free goal." Time: 6 PM. Location: 155 North Main Street, Elmira. Contact: Sarah Robbins (607) 737-2858.
The Northpointe Council, the Community Health Alliance of North Tonawanda (CHANT), and the North Tonawanda Youth and Recreation Center will be hosting an educational fair at the North Tonawanda Youth Center. The event will increase awareness of the risks associated with smoking. Time: 5 PM. Location: 35 Grant Street, North Tonawanda. Contact: Cheri Kelly (716) 282-1228.
On March 21, Reality Check teens are hosting a community basketball tournament and youth advocacy day at Tioga County Boys and Girls Club in Owego. Youth will participate in advocacy and education activities geared toward the tobacco prevention. Time: 1 PM. Location: 201 Erie Street, Owego. Contact: Lisa Weston-Bialy (607) 687-4020.
All events are on March 16 unless otherwise indicated. For a full list of Kick Butts Day activities in New York, 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