State Leaders Urged to Support Tobacco Prevention Initiatives
WASHINGTON, March 13, 2014
WASHINGTON, March 13, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Kids in New Hampshire will stand up against tobacco on March 19 as they join thousands of young people nationwide for the 19th 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 50th 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 22,000 children in New Hampshire 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 50th 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 New Hampshire alone, tobacco use claims 1,700 lives and costs $729 million in health care bills each year. Currently, 18.1 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 New Hampshire include:
On March 18, the University of New Hampshire-Office of Health Education & Promotion in Health Services in collaboration with Breathe New Hampshire and the NH Youth Network will exhibit of 1,700 pairs of shoes, interactive cards and information about the history of tobacco use in the U.S., and a tobacco policy timeline. Time: 10 AM. Location: Memorial Union Building, Granite State Room, 4 Pettee Brook Lane, Durham. Contact: Melissa Garvey (603) 986-4638.
Students from McLaughlin Middle School in Manchester will celebrate Kick Butts Day with presentations about the hazards of smoking, and display a pledge wall where students can commit to being tobacco-free. Time: 7:50 AM. Location: 290 S. Mammoth Road, Manchester. Contact: David Hedge (603) 628-6247.
Students from Henniker High School will educate both high school and middle school students about the hazards of smoking, and distribute facts about the deadly consequences of tobacco use. Time: 7:30 AM. Location: 16 E. Road, Weare. Contact: Tom Dunn (603) 568-5102.
Colby-Sawyer CollegeinNew London will participate in Kick Butts Day through interactive displays and handing out information about the dangers of tobacco use. Students will also feature a shoe display that will represent the lives lost to smoking. Time: 11 AM. Location: Campus Cafeteria, Ware Campus Building, 541 Main Street, New London. Contact: Heather Astle (603) 603-344-3527.
(Note: all events are on March 19 unless otherwise indicated.)