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Sunday, 16 March, 2014 11:27 AM

Michigan Kids Will 'Kick Butts' on Wednesday, March 19

State Leaders Urged to Support Tobacco Prevention Initiatives

Graphic credit: Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids logo

 

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WASHINGTON -- Kids in Michigan 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 213,000 children in Michigan 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 Michigan alone, tobacco use claims 14,200 lives and costs $4.6 billion in health care bills each year. Currently, 14 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 Michigan include:

  • The Grand Rapids Urban League and the Urban Fellows will host a Kick Butts carnival at Grand Rapids Community College to raise awareness of the harmful effects of smoking, and how African Americans and youth are specifically targeted by tobacco companies. The carnival will also commemorate the anniversary of the Surgeon General's report. Time: 11 AM. Location: Raider Grille, 143 Bostwick Avenue Northeast, Grand Rapids.
  • The Mayor of Owosso will read a proclamation to students of Bryant Elementary School to kick off their Kick Butts Day celebration. Time: 8:55 AM. Location: 925 Hampton Street, Owosso.
  • SAFE (Substance Abuse Free Environment) Youth in Emmet and Charlevoix Counties are partnering with local coffee shops to promote a tobacco free lifestyle by placing stickers on coffee cups sold throughout Kick Butts Day. The stickers will read, "Save your lungs, Save your life. Kick Butts Day 2014." Time: 7 AM. Location: 3473 Michigan 119, Harbor Springs.

(Note: all events are on March 19 unless otherwise indicated.)

For a full list of Kick Butts Day events in Michigan, visit http://www.kickbuttsday.org/map. 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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