WASHINGTON, March 11, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Kids in Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania, tobacco companies spend $469.5 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 Pennsylvania, health advocates are calling on state leaders to increase the cigarette tax by $1.60 per pack. A higher cigarette tax is a proven way to reduce smoking, especially among kids.
In Pennsylvania, tobacco use claims 22,000 lives and costs $6.38 billion in health care bills each year. Currently, 10.3 percent of Pennsylvania'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 Pennsylvania, activities include:
The Student Wellness Program at Lackawanna College in Scranton will host a kickboxing class for students to learn about the dangers of smoking, chewing tobacco, and vaping. There will be informational displays, and a #NotaReplacement selfie station where students will pledge to stay tobacco-free. Time: 8 AM. Location: 500 Jefferson Avenue, Scranton. Contact: Tina Bruno (570) 955-1478.
The Tobacco Resistance Unit and Students Against Destructive Decisions will host an education fair at Youngsville High School. Students in grades 9 through 12 will participate in #NotaReplacement activities that will be led by 20 health educators in the Warren County region. Time: 1 PM. Location: 227 College Street, Youngsville. Contact: Claire Coffin (814) 706-1311.
Teens Against Tobacco Use (TATU) will host an event at Delaware Valley High School in Milford where students will learn about the dangers of tobacco and the death rate of smokers. Informational messages will be written on tombstones and placed in high traffic areas around the school. Time: 8 AM. Location: 252 Route 6 209, Milford. Contact: Ellen Orben (570) 296-1860.
Northern Dauphin County YMCA and Harrisburg Police Athletic League Tobacco Resistance Unit (TRU) are partnering with Cumberland Court Apartments to host an information session on the dangers of tobacco where participants can contribute to the graffiti wall writing about why they are tobacco free. Time: 6:30 PM. Location: 1111 Capital Street, Harrisburg. Contact: Eric Rothermel (717) 579 8051.
Council Rock Coalition for Healthy Youth, Teens for a Better Humanity (TBH) and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) are encouraging students at Council Rock High School to Respect Your Selfie by distributing frames with anti-tobacco messages to create a collage of the smoke free selfies serving as a reminder to remain tobacco free. Time: 3:20 PM. Location: 2002 Rock Way, Holland. Contact: Donna Foisy (267) 980-8205.
All events are on March 16 unless otherwise indicated. For a full list of Kick Butts Day activities in Pennsylvania, 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