Last updated on April 24, 2014 at 17:35 EDT

California Kids Will ‘Kick Butts’ on Wednesday, March 20

March 15, 2013

State Leaders Urged to Support Tobacco Prevention Initiatives

WASHINGTON, March 15, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Kids in California will stand up against tobacco on March 20 as they join thousands of young people nationwide for the 18(th) annual Kick Butts Day. More than 1,200 events are planned across the United States. (See below for a list of local events.)

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Organized by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and sponsored by United Health Foundation, Kick Butts Day is an annual celebration of youth leadership and activism in the fight against tobacco use. On Kick Butts Day, youth will encourage their peers to stay tobacco-free. They will also educate their communities about the dangers of tobacco and the tobacco industry’s harmful marketing practices.

This year on Kick Butts Day, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is highlighting the tobacco industry’s products and marketing that entice kids to use tobacco. According to the Federal Trade Commission, tobacco companies spend $8.5 billion a year – nearly $1 million each hour – to market cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products. This marketing has an impact on kids:

  • While the U.S. has greatly reduced youth smoking, 18.1 percent of high school students still smoke, and nearly 1,000 kids become regular smokers each day. Among youth smokers, 86 percent prefer Marlboro, Newport and Camel, which are the three most heavily advertised cigarette brands, according to the government’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
  • Tobacco companies have also introduced new products that appeal to kids, including cheap, sweet, colorfully-packaged small cigars that look just like cigarettes. Many cigars come in fruit and candy flavors such as strawberry, vanilla, peach and apple.
  • In a 2012 report, the U.S. Surgeon General concluded that tobacco marketing causes kids to start and continue using tobacco products.

“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. “It’s also a chance for elected leaders to commit to protecting kids from tobacco through policies such as tobacco taxes, smoke-free laws and prevention programs. We hope that legislators will listen to their young constituents and implement these proven solutions to reduce tobacco use and save lives.”

Tobacco use is the number one cause of preventable death in the United States, killing more than 400,000 people and costing $96 billion in health care bills each year.

In California, tobacco use claims 36,600 lives and costs $9.14 billion in health care bills each year. Currently, 13.8 percent of the state’s high school students smoke. California health advocates are urging leaders to significantly increase the cigarette tax and increase funding for tobacco prevention programs.

On Kick Butts Day, kids turn the tables on Big Tobacco with events that range from “They put WHAT in a cigarette!?” demonstrations to health fairs to rallies at state capitols. Activities in California include:

  • The StarVista afterschool program, Healthy Sequoia, will host a tobacco retail nation booth in at Sequoia’s Health Fair in Redwood City. Students will showcase the large amount of tobacco retailers in their community. Time: 11 AM. Location: 1201 Brewster Avenue, Redwood City. Contact: Michael Johansen (650) 369-1411 ext. 6492.
  • Abraham Lincoln High School Leadership Take Action Campaign students in Los Angeles will host an anti-tobacco rally, distribute information about what’s in a cigarette and collect tobacco-free pledges from students. Time: 11:30 AM. Location: Abraham Lincoln High School, 3501 N. Broadway Street, Los Angeles. Contact: Lupe Ramirez and Jessica Cabral (323) 441-4614.
  • High School public health youth interns and Students Together Against Alcohol ‘N Drugs (STAAND) will encourage youth at the La Mesa Boys and Girls Club Teen Center to fight back against Big Tobacco’s influence on their peers. Activities include skits, “What’s in a Cigarette?!” displays and a graffiti pledge wall. Time: 3:30 PM. Location: 7775 Junior High Drive, La Mesa. Contact: Enrique De La Cruz (619) 442-2727 x 111.
  • On March 23, students from Majority Rules in Lucerne Valley will hand out tobacco information at Lucerne Valley Market. The booth will display cigarette butts and have ‘Ciggy Butts’ and ‘The Reaper’ walking around the market. Time: 11 AM. Location: 32946 State Highway 18, Lucerne Valley. Contact: Karol Thompson (760) 927-5904.

(Note: all events are on March 20 unless otherwise indicated.)

For a full list of Kick Butts Day events in California, visit http://www.kickbuttsday.org/events. Additional information about tobacco, including state-by-state statistics, can be found at www.tobaccofreekids.org.

CONTACTS: Virginia Bader, 202-745-5115
Catherine Butsch, 202-296-5469

SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

Source: PR Newswire