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Kentucky Kids 'Kick Butts' on March 24

Friday, March 19, 2010 General News J E 4
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State Leaders Urged to Support Higher Tobacco Taxes, Other Tobacco Prevention Initiatives

WASHINGTON, March 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Kids in Kentucky will take center stage in the fight against tobacco on March 24 as they join thousands of young people nationwide for the 15th annual Kick Butts Day.  More than 1,000 events are planned in all 50 states and the District of Columbia (for a list of local events see below).

(Logo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20080918/CFTFKLOGO )

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 Kentucky, tobacco use claims 7,800 lives and costs $1.50 billion in health care bills each year.  Currently, 26.1 percent of the state's high school students smoke, and 23,300 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 Kentucky include (all events are on March 24 unless otherwise noted):

In Burgin, the Teens Against Tobacco Use (T.A.T.U.) club will host a "Knock Out Tobacco" boxing event at Burgin Independent School where elementary school students will have the opportunity to punch out Ciggy Butts.  Other activities will be held throughout the day which include a graffiti wall, pledge wall and a "They put WHAT in a cigarette?" display.  Time: 7:50 AM.  Location: 440 E. Main Street, Burgin.  Contact: Maggie McKnight (859) 613-1200.

Students from Stanton Elementary School will hold a cigarette butt cleanup to remove this growing eyesore at the school grounds in Stanton.  Time: 1 PM.  Location: 651 Breckinridge Street, Stanton.   Contact: Dixie Lockard (606) 663-5643.

Note to the media: For a list of Kick Butts Day events in Kentucky, 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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