WASHINGTON, March 11, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Kids in Tennessee 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 Tennessee, tobacco companies spend $292.7 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 Tennessee, tobacco use claims 11,400 lives and costs $2.67 billion in health care bills each year. Currently, 15.4 percent of Tennessee'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 Tennessee, activities include:
The Roane County Anti-Drug Coalition will coordinate a tobacco essay contest for school districts in Kingston. Students will be educated about the dangers of tobacco products. Time: 4 PM. Location: 151 East Race Street, Kingston. Contact: Kris Brinkmeier (865) 224-0342.
The Johnson County Schools Health Program and SADD will be hosting a student education fair at Johnson County Middle School in Mountain City. Activities include "airing out" big tobacco's dirty secrets and surveys to test knowledge about the dangers of tobacco. Time: 1 PM. Location: 510 Fairground Lane, Mountain City. Contact: Amanda Mullins (423) 727-2640.
Students from the Allies for Substance Abuse Prevention (ASAP) youth coalition will chalk the walk with a trail of facts written in chalk on the grounds surrounding Anderson County High School. Announcements will be made to educate students about tobacco cessation resources. Time: 8:30 AM. Location: 130 Maverick Circle, Clinton. Contact: Stacey Pratt (865) 457-3007.
On March 19, the Power of Putnam Anti-Drug Coalition will host a local city park cigarette butt cleanup in Cookeville. Youth ambassadors from local high schools will advocate for a tobacco-free zone in all city parks. Time: 9 AM. Location: 25 West Broad Street, Cookeville. Contact: Rachael Howard (931) 349-4135.
Weakley County Prevention Coalition, with help from the Dresden Youth Coalition, will host a tobacco prevention event promoting a tobacco free life through a display of tombstones, body bags and fatal figures. Time: 9 AM. Location: 134 East Heights Drive, Martin. Contact: Courtney Horton (731) 267-0998.
All events are on March 16 unless otherwise indicated. For a full list of Kick Butts Day activities in Tennessee, 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