Nebraska Kids Will ‘Kick Butts’ on March 19
State Leaders Urged to Support Tobacco Prevention Initiatives
WASHINGTON, March 13, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Kids in Nebraska 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 a list of local 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 38,000 children in Nebraska 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 Nebraska alone, tobacco use claims 2,200 lives and costs $795 million in health care bills each year. Currently, 15.0 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 Nebraska include:
Youth from across the state will rally on the steps of the State Capitol to stand out, speak up and seize control by unmasking Big Tobacco at the No Limits Kick Butts Day Rally in Lincoln. The rally will feature remarks from a state senator about curbing tobacco use and making more places smoke-free. Time: 10:30 AM. Location: State Capitol, 1445 K Street, Lincoln. Contact: Brad Penner (402) 310-9993.
High school students will participate at the Kick Butts Day Diversity Youth Conference in Omaha. At the conference, various community organizations will host educational sessions to teach LGBTQIA youth about Big Tobacco’s deceitful marketing tactics. Time: 9 AM. Location: UNMC College of Public Health, 984340 Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha. Contact: Diana Rogel Mendoza (402) 609-9752.
Students of Youth for Christ will create a massive graffiti wall displaying messages about the dangers of Big Tobacco and the benefits of kicking the deadly habit. The display will hang in the windows that face downtown Columbus to educate the community. Time: 4:30 PM. Location: 2809 13(th) Street, Columbus. Contact: Katie Loseke (402) 564-3700.
(Note: all events are on March 19 unless otherwise indicated.)
For a full list of Kick Butts Day events in Nebraska, 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