State Leaders Urged to Support Higher Tobacco Taxes, Other Tobacco Prevention Initiatives
Sponsored by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Kick Butts Day is an annual celebration of youth leadership and activism in the fight against tobacco use. Kids are sending two powerful messages on Kick Butts Day: They want the tobacco companies to stop targeting them with marketing for cigarettes and other tobacco products, and they want elected leaders to do more to protect them from tobacco.
The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and other public health advocates are calling on elected officials to support proven measures to reduce tobacco use and its devastating toll. As states struggle with record budget deficits, state leaders should increase tobacco taxes both to prevent kids from smoking and to raise revenue to balance budgets and fund critical programs. States should also enact smoke-free air laws that apply to all workplaces and public places and implement well-funded tobacco prevention and cessation programs.
"On Kick Butts Day, kids are standing up to the tobacco companies, and elected officials should stand with them by supporting proven tobacco prevention measures," said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. "We know what works to reduce smoking and other tobacco use. Every state should implement these proven solutions, including higher tobacco taxes, well-funded tobacco prevention programs and smoke-free air laws."
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. While the nation has made significant progress in reducing youth smoking, 20 percent of high school students still smoke.
In Indiana, tobacco use claims 9,700 lives and costs $2.08 billion in health care bills each year. Currently, 18.3 percent of the state's high school students smoke, and 34,900 kids try cigarettes for the first time each year.
On Kick Butts Day, kids turn the tables on Big Tobacco with events that range from "They put WHAT in a cigarette?" demonstrations to mock-funerals for the Marlboro Man to rallies at state capitols. Activities in Indiana include (all events are on March 24 unless otherwise noted):
On March 26, both locations of the Lyn Treece Boys and Girls Club in Lafayette will host a Kick Butts Day carnival to spread the tobacco use prevention message to the entire community. Time: 2:30 PM, 10th Street and 3 PM, Beck Lane. Location: 1529 North 10th Street and 2112 Beck Lane, Layfayette. Contact: Christine Fader (765) 742-2991, 10th Street, and Dustin Bankhead (765) 414-8232, Beck Lane.
At Indiana University in Bloomington, the Hoosier Softball Team will invite local youth to write and display powerful messages about tobacco's toll on them and their loved ones on a graffiti wall. 4 PM. Location: Varsity Softball Field, Corner of Fee Lane and 17th Street, Bloomington. Contact: Ashleigh Bachert (812) 929-7356.
On April 25, VOICE members from Greenfield-Central High School will host a Kick Butts Day carnival to spread the tobacco use prevention message to the entire community at the Court House Plaza. Time: 12 PM. Location: 1114 Grayson Drive, Greenfield. Contact: Emily Kile (317) 525-0544.
The Minority Health Coalition and Elkhart County Health Department will host a "Skate Out Tobacco" event at the Holiday Roller Rink in Elkhart. Time: 6 PM. Location: 28736 County Road 20, Elkhart. Contact: Velishea Billings (574) 202-2699.
Note to the media: For a list of Kick Butts Day events in Indiana, visit www.kickbuttsday.org/events. Additional information about tobacco, including state-by-state statistics, can be found at www.tobaccofreekids.org.
SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
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