Wisconsin Kids to 'Kick Butts' on March 16

State Leaders Urged to Make the Next Generation Tobacco-Free

Mar 11, 2016, 10:00 ET from Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

WASHINGTON, March 11, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Kids in Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin, tobacco companies spend $157.3 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 Wisconsin, tobacco use claims 7,900 lives and costs $2.66 billion in health care bills each year. Currently, 10.7 percent of Wisconsin'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 Wisconsin, activities include:

Horicon Students Against Destructive Decisions will host a series of events including tobacco Jeopardy matches, a poster contest to illustrate the dangers of smoking tobacco, and spelling "tobacco kills" with cups in the driveway fence of Horicon Junior/Senior High School. Time: 8 AM. Location: 841 Gray Street, Horicon. Contact: Anne Millane (262) 269-9925.

Students at Two Rivers High School (TRHS) will host a scavenger hunt and display "paper people" they created to depict the number of Wisconsinites that become smokers each year, how many die of a tobacco-related illness, and compare those numbers against the total number of students enrolled at TRHS. Time: 9 AM. Location: 4519 Lincoln Avenue, Two Rivers. Contact: Katie Wilsmann (920) 901-9922.

The Health and Wellness Club at the University of Wisconsin-Sheboygan will host an informational table in the Commons to spread information about the harmful effects of tobacco and offer resources to students interested in quitting. Time: 12 PM. Location: 1 University Drive, Sheboygan. Contact: Kristine Feggestad (920) 287-4902.

Active duty and retired members of the US Coast Guard and their family members who sign a pledge card committing to be tobacco-free will receive a coupon for the Milwaukee Coast Guard Exchange (CGX). The signed pledge cards will be posted on a commitment wall inside the CGX store. Time: 9:30 AM. Location: 2420 South Lincoln Memorial Drive, Milwaukee.  Contact: John Staral (414) 747-1466.

All events are on March 16 unless otherwise indicated. For a full list of Kick Butts Day activities in Wisconsin, 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