Florida Kids Will ‘Kick Butts’ on Wednesday, March 20
State Leaders Urged to Support Tobacco Prevention Initiatives
WASHINGTON, March 15, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ – Kids in Florida 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.)
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 Florida, tobacco use claims 28,600 lives and costs $6.32 billion in health care bills each year. Currently, 10.1 percent of the state’s high school students smoke. Florida health advocates are urging continued support for the state’s very successful tobacco prevention program.
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 Florida include:
- Members of the Gene Matthews Boys & Girls Club’s Students Working Against Tobacco in North Port will make a public display to warn others about the dangers of smoking. The display will include “Tobacco’s dirty laundry:” t-shirts with quotes from the tobacco industry about how important they feel it is for kids to smoke. Time: 4:15 PM. Location: 6851 S. Biscayne Drive. Contact: Amanda Garris (941) 423-4545.
- Students at the Pine View School in Osprey will watch the play “Tobacco Tales” performed by the Source Teen Theatre. The play, which is sponsored by Sarasota County’s Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT), will educate students about tobacco prevention, present vital facts, and dramatic scenarios about how smoking and the use of other tobacco products has a profoundly negative impact on people’s health. Time: 10 AM. Location: 1 Python Path, Osprey. Contact: Scott Ferguson: (941) 539-6938.
- Members of SWAT at Madison County Central School will perform a play for their peers to raise awareness of the dangers of smoking. Written by the students themselves, the play will lead the protagonists on a Hansel and Gretel-like journey, exploring how tobacco companies use flavored products to lure in youth. Time: 10 AM. Location: 2093 W. US Highway 90, Madison. Contact: Nadine Kahn (850) 973-5000 ext. 120
- On March 23, SWAT and the Tobacco Prevention Program for the Florida Department of Health in Duval County will host a community event open to the public in Jacksonville to raise awareness of the dangers of smoking. Attendees can participate in kickball games and a cigarette butt clean-up. Time: 10 AM. Location: Riverside Park, at the corner of Park and Post Streets. Contact: Sahara Soliman (904) 508-1874.
- On March 23, local students in Baker County will create a Tobacco House of Terror at Baker County High School with different rooms illustrating the harmful effects of tobacco. Time: 9 AM. Location: 1 Wildcat Road, Glen St Mary. Contact: Regina McCray (904) 259-6291 ext. 2252.
(Note: all events are on March 20 unless otherwise indicated.)
For a full list of Kick Butts Day events in Florida, visit http://www.kickbuttsday.org/events. Additional information about tobacco, including state-by-state statistics, can be found at www.tobaccofreekids.org.
CONTACTS: Frank Walsh, 202-745-5110
Catherine Butsch, 202-296-5469
SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids