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About Kick Butts Day
2015 Events in Georgia
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 13, 2015
CONTACTS: Elliot Kass, 202-745-5066
Mina Radman, 202-296-5469
Georgia Kids to ‘Kick Butts’ on March 18
State Leaders Urged to Support Tobacco Prevention Initiatives
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Kids in Georgia will stand up to Big Tobacco on March 18 as they join thousands of young people nationwide for the 20th annual Kick Butts Day. More than 1,000 events are planned nationwide for this day of youth activism, sponsored by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. (See below for a list of local events.)
On Kick Butts Day, kids encourage their peers to stay tobacco-free, demand that tobacco companies stop marketing deadly, addictive products to them and encourage elected officials to do more to reduce youth tobacco use.
This year, Kick Butts Day is focusing attention on how the tobacco industry still spends huge sums on marketing and is adopting new strategies to reach young customers. Nationwide, tobacco companies spend $8.8 billion a year – one million dollars every hour – to market tobacco products. In Georgia, tobacco companies spend $316.9 million annually on marketing efforts. The industry’s tactics that entice kids include:
- Splashy ads in magazines with large youth readership, such as Sports Illustrated, ESPN the Magazine and Rolling Stone.
- Widespread advertising and price discounts in stores, which make tobacco products appealing and affordable to kids.
- New, sweet-flavored tobacco products such as small cigars and electronic cigarettes. The latest surveys show that youth use of e-cigarettes has skyrocketed.
In addition to organizing events, kids are standing up to the tobacco industry on social media through the #NotAReplacement selfie campaign. The tobacco industry’s own documents reveal that they have long targeted kids as “replacement smokers” for the more than 480,000 people their products kill each year in the United States. Kids are taking selfies to say they’re not a replacement and sharing the photos on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the #NotAReplacement hashtag. (view the #NotAReplacement selfie gallery)
“On Kick Butts Day, kids stand up and reject Big Tobacco’s manipulative marketing,” said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “We can make the next generation tobacco-free and end the tobacco epidemic for good. Elected officials can help reach that goal by standing with kids and supporting proven strategies to prevent youth tobacco use, including higher tobacco taxes, strong smoke-free laws and prevention programs.”
Health advocates in Georgia are urging leaders to raise the cigarette tax to prevent kids from smoking and save lives. In Georgia, tobacco use claims 11,700 lives and costs $3.18 billion in health care bills each year. Currently, 12.8 percent of Georgia’s high school students smoke.
On Kick Butts Day, kids engage in creative events that range from small classroom activities about the harmful ingredients in cigarettes to large rallies at state capitols.
In Georgia, activities include:
Members of the Keystone and Torch Club will gather on Moody Air Force Base in Valdosta to pick up cigarette butts around the base’s housing area and local parks. Time: 4 PM. Location: 1804 Prewitte Street, Valdosta. Contact: Amy Thompson (229) 257-3067.
Students at Carver High School in Atlanta will pledge their commitment to stay tobacco-free by taking #NotAReplacement selfies and signing a poster to explain their pledge. Time: 10 AM. Location: 55 McDonough Boulevard, Atlanta. Contact: Deshanda Smarr (770) 837-7606.
Youth from the Toombs County School District in Lyons will chalk the sidewalk outside of Dollar General Market to raise awareness about the harmful toxins in cigarettes. Time: 4 PM. Location: 160 N. State Street, Lyons. Contact: Maudie Anderson (912) 585-4749.
Students at Statesboro High School will place signs around campus that describe the dangers of tobacco. Youth will also hand out information and sign a pledge to abstain from tobacco use. Time: 11 AM. Location: 10 Lester Road, Statesboro. Contact: Brenda Shumate (912) 212-8868.
On March 20, students from Cross Keys High School in Atlanta will build a large display of harmful cigarette ingredients in the cafeteria. Students will also hand out informational and promotional materials to peers and participate in an Instagram competition. Time: 12 PM. Location: 1626 N. Druid Hills Road N.E., Atlanta. Contact: Karuna Ramachandran (352) 870-6640.
All events are on March 18 unless otherwise indicated. For a full list of Kick Butts Day activities in Georgia, visit www.kickbuttsday.org/map. Additional information about tobacco, including state-by-state statistics, can be found at www.tobaccofreekids.org.
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