Rhode Island Kids Will ‘Kick Butts’ on March 19
State Leaders Urged to Support Tobacco Prevention Initiatives
WASHINGTON, March 13, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Kids in Rhode Island will stand up against tobacco on March 19 as they join thousands of young people nationwide for the 19(th) annual Kick Butts Day. More than 1,400 events are planned across the nation. (See below for details on Rhode Island events.)
Organized by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Kick Butts Day is an annual celebration of youth leadership and activism in the fight against tobacco. On Kick Butts Day, youth will encourage their peers to stay tobacco-free and educate their communities about the tobacco industry’s harmful marketing practices.
This year, Kick Butts Day comes as new information reaffirms the urgent need for action. The United States is marking the 50(th) anniversary of the first Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health, and a new Surgeon General’s report released in January found that smoking is even more hazardous than previously thought. Key findings of the report include:
-- Each year, smoking kills 480,000 people in the U.S. and costs the nation at least $289 billion in health care bills and other economic losses. -- Without urgent action to reduce smoking, 5.6 million U.S. children alive today will die prematurely from smoking-caused disease. That includes 16,000 children in Rhode Island alone. -- Tobacco marketing causes kids to start and continue using tobacco products.
Nationwide, tobacco companies spend $8.8 billion a year – one million dollars each hour – to market cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products. In particular, tobacco companies target youth with magazine ads, store ads and discounts, and fruit- and candy-flavored small cigars that look just like cigarettes.
“On Kick Butts Day, kids will stand up and reject Big Tobacco’s manipulative marketing,” said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “Elected officials must stand with them by supporting proven measures to protect kids from tobacco addiction, including tobacco taxes, smoke-free laws and prevention programs. On the 50(th) anniversary of the first Surgeon General’s report, we need bold action to create a tobacco-free generation and end the tobacco epidemic for good.”
In Rhode Island alone, tobacco use claims 1,500 lives and costs $640 million in health care bills each year. Currently, 11.4 percent of the state’s high school students smoke.
On Kick Butts Day, kids turn the tables on Big Tobacco in creative ways, with events that range from small classroom activities about the harmful ingredients in cigarettes to large rallies at state capitols.
Activities in Rhode Island include:
Tobacco Free Rhode Island, Tobacco Free Providence, and the Rhode Island Department of Health will kick-off a “Zombie Walk” in Providence March 19 with a press conference at the State House, during which students will be transformed into zombies. Students will then walk from the State House to Kennedy Plaza, speaking with people in the community about the harmful effects of tobacco use. Time: 2:30 PM. Location: Bell Gallery, State House, 82 Smith Street, Providence. Contact: Karina Wood (401) 595-2999.
On March 20, 4(th) through 5(th) grade students at Dr. Martin Luther King Elementary School will hold a Kick Butts Day rally in the school gym in Providence. Members of the Brown University men’s soccer team will emcee the event. Time: 2:15 PM. Location: 35 Camp Street, Providence. Contact: Bonnie Braga (508) 667-5093.
On March 20, students at Barrington High School will participate in an event to teach others about the toxic products found in cigarettes. The event will include a photo display, as well as a student raffle. Time: 8 AM. Location: 220 Lincoln Avenue, Barrington. Contact: Kathleen Sullivan (401) 316-5956.
On March 21, the Chariho Task Force on Substance Abuse Prevention and the Chariho Community Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) will present a photo-voice project, “Kicking Tobacco’s Butt, One Photo at a Time,” in which students will depict how and why they resist tobacco marketing. The project will be on display at the YMCA’s teen night and will reach hundreds of children, youth and adults. Time: 6:30 PM. Location: Arcadia Branch YMCA, 1190 Main Street, Wyoming. Contact: Astrid Meijer (401) 617-8074.
For a full list of Kick Butts Day events in Rhode Island, visit http://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