WASHINGTON, March 11, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Kids in North Carolina 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 North Carolina, tobacco companies spend $392.2 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 North Carolina, tobacco use claims 14,200 lives and costs $3.81 billion in health care bills each year. Currently, 15 percent of North Carolina'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 North Carolina, activities include:
An anti-tobacco rally will take place at the Education Building of the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds, including school spirit booths, competitive events, and activities for all ages. The event will showcase the students' year-round community efforts along with anti-tobacco pledges. Time: 4 PM. Location: 421 27th Street NW, Winston-Salem. Contact: Terri Moy (336) 705-9019.
The Butler DREAM Team will draw bodies with chalk around the entire perimeter of Butler High School with a heavy emphasis on the entrances to parking lots and car pool lines. Stakes in the ground will display tobacco facts to raise awareness. Time: 10:30 AM. Location: 1810 Matthews Mint Hill Road, Matthews. Contact: Mary Ferreri (980) 343-6300.
Bike Routes for Fitness will host a cycling event in Charlotte to promote tobacco-free public spaces. Bicyclists will ride a designated bus route and distribute literature, buttons and t-shirts to passengers on city and school bus routes. Time: 2 PM. Location: 310 East Trade Street, Charlotte. Contact: Debra Franklin (704) 886-8221.
On March 19th, the Orange County Health Department will partner with Tobacco Reality Unfiltered (TRU) clubs in local high schools to raise awareness about the smoke-free public places rule. Participants will collect cigarette butts in downtown Chapel Hill and Carrboro, share information on the policy, and provide resources for quitting tobacco. Time: 10:30 AM. Location: Franklin Street, Chapel Hill. Contact: Stacy Shelp (919) 245-2462.
All events are on March 16 unless otherwise indicated. For a full list of Kick Butts Day activities in North Carolina, 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