Ohio Kids to 'Kick Butts' on March 16

State Leaders Urged to Make the Next Generation Tobacco-Free

Mar 11, 2016, 09:00 ET from Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

WASHINGTON, March 11, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Kids in Ohio 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 Ohio, tobacco companies spend $430.8 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 Ohio, tobacco use claims 20,200 lives and costs $5.64 billion in health care bills each year. Currently, 15.1 percent of Ohio'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 Ohio, activities include:

On March 15, the Lake Geauga Ashtabula Tobacco Prevention Coalition (LGATPC) will hold a community event at the Salvation Army of Lake County. Stand groups in Lake, Geauga, and Ashtabula counties will hold activities to encourage smokers to kick the habit. Youth will take "selfies" to let tobacco companies know that they are "Not a Replacement" for smokers who die from tobacco use. Time: 6 PM. Location: 69 Pearl Street, Painesville. Contact: Catherine Bevan (440) 350-2442.

The Eta Sigma Gamma – Iota Chapter and the University of Toledo Public Health Student Organization will display body bags on the University of Toledo campus. Yard signs will accompany the body bags with statistics and information about the negative effects of tobacco use. Time: 10 AM. Location: 2801 West Bancroft Street, Toledo. Contact: Mallory Rinckey (419) 654-3835.

The Community Action for Capable Youth, Inc. (CACY) will host a creative learning activity using anti-tobacco information to produce artwork at the Mansfield Art Center. Canvases, video public service announcements, and photographs are also welcome, and can be posted to social media to communicate anti-tobacco messaging. All artwork will be displayed at the Mansfield Art Center. Time: 5 PM. Location: 700 Marion Avenue, Mansfield. Contact: Brandy Dilgard (419) 774-5683.

Youth of Canton South High School in partnership with Aultman Hospital will host an after school "walk with a doc" at Canton South High School. A local physician will walk with students to discuss tobacco-free lifestyles. Students will also be invited to health classrooms for additional information and posters will be displayed in hallways. Time: 2:45 PM. Location: 600 Faircrest Street SE, Canton. Contact: Kristen Smith (330) 268-3691.

Active duty and retired members of the US Coast Guard and their families who sign a pledge card committing to be tobacco-free will receive a coupon for the Coast Guard Exchange (CGX) Cleveland (Otto Graham). Signed pledge cards will be displayed on a commitment wall inside the CGX store. Time: 10 AM. Location: 13920 West Parkway Road, Cleveland. Contact: Norm Orth (216) 671-3500.

All events are on March 16 unless otherwise indicated. For a full list of Kick Butts Day activities in Ohio, visit www.kickbuttsday.org/map. Additional information about tobacco, including state-by-state statistics, can be found at www.tobaccofreekids.org.

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SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids