WASHINGTON, March 10, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Kids in Texas will unite against tobacco use on March 15 as they join thousands of young people nationwide to mark 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 encourage their peers to be tobacco-free, reject tobacco companies' devious marketing and urge elected officials to help make the next generation tobacco-free.
This year, Kick Butts Day is focusing attention on how tobacco companies are enticing kids with a growing market of sweet-flavored products such as electronic cigarettes and cigars, threatening to addict a new generation. These products have proved popular with kids. From 2011 to 2015, e-cigarette use among high school students jumped from 1.5 percent to 16 percent nationwide, and more kids now use e-cigarettes than regular cigarettes. In addition, more high school boys now smoke cigars than cigarettes. E-cigarettes and cigars are sold in a wide assortment of candy and fruit flavors, such as gummy bear, cotton candy and fruit punch.
Tobacco companies also continue to spend huge sums to market cigarettes and smokeless tobacco, much of it reaching kids. Nationwide, tobacco companies spend $9.1 billion a year – one million dollars every hour – on marketing. In Texas, tobacco companies spend $606.6 million annually on marketing efforts.
In Texas, health advocates are backing bipartisan bills in the state House and Senate to increase the tobacco sale age to 21, a move that will reduce tobacco use and save lives. On the local level, health advocates are working to pass a comprehensive smoke-free law in Fort Worth.
"On Kick Butts Day, kids stand up to the tobacco industry, and our nation's leaders must stand with them," said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. "We've made great strides in reducing youth smoking, but candy-flavored products like e-cigarettes and cigars threaten this progress. We need strong FDA regulation to protect kids from these sweet-flavored products. And elected officials at all levels should support proven strategies that prevent youth tobacco use, including higher tobacco taxes, strong smoke-free laws, funding prevention programs and raising the tobacco age to 21."
In Texas, tobacco use claims 28,000 lives and costs $8.85 billion in health care bills each year. Currently, 10.6 percent of Texas 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 Texas, activities include:
On March 14, in collaboration with advocates from the Gift of Life, the Port Arthur City Council will inform and educate council members, commissioners and citizens about the harmful effects of tobacco. Time: 8:30 AM. Location: Port Arthur City Hall, 444 4th Street, Port Arthur. Contact: Connie Berry (409) 833-3663.
Members of the Ingleside Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) will hold a tobacco-free march at Ingleside High School to bring attention to the dangers of tobacco use and encourage a tobacco-free lifestyle. Time: 7:30 AM. Location: Ingleside High School, 2807 Mustang Drive, Ingleside. Contact: Carlos Vela (361) 756-9376.
Members of Students Adults and Youth Working Hard Against Tobacco (SayWhat!) in Lufkin will create a display of tombstones that represent the 77 Texans who die from tobacco each day. The tombstones will also display facts on the dangers of tobacco use. Time: 10 AM. Location: 1320 S. John Redditt Drive, Suite C, Lufkin. Contact: Kayla Garris (936) 634-9308.
The YMCA of Boerne will create a graffiti wall and educate participants about the harmful effects of tobacco use through visual displays, including tobacco facts in chalk on the sidewalk, as well as tobacco Jeopardy. Time: 10 AM. Location: YMCA of Boerne, 1361 S. Main Street, Boerne. Contact: Ashley Maytum (830) 415-8043.
The Young Ladies of Elegance and Young Men of Character will hold a Kick Butts Health Fair at Lewis Middle School in Houston. Informational booths and games will teach students about the risks and health consequences of smoking. Time: 10 AM. Location: 6309 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Houston. Contact: Danyell Pennington (770) 560-9841.
On March 22, the Recovery Resource Council will hold a fair at the J.A. Cavile Boys and Girls Club in Fort Worth. There will be games, activities, education, booths, and prizes, bringing the community together for tobacco awareness and fun. Time: 5 PM. Location: 5021 Avenue G, Fort Worth. Contact: Alma Romero (817) 944-7843.
All events are on March 15 unless otherwise indicated. For a full list of Kick Butts Day activities in Texas, visit www.kickbuttsday.org/map. Additional information about tobacco, including state-by-state statistics, can be found at www.tobaccofreekids.org.
To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/texas-kids-to-kick-butts-on-march-15-300421764.html
SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids