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About Kick Butts Day
2014 Events in Georgia
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 13, 2014
CONTACTS: Allison Koehler, 202-745-5053
Catherine Butsch, 202-296-5469
Georgia Kids Will ‘Kick Butts’ on March 19
State Leaders Urged to Support Tobacco Prevention Initiatives
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Kids in Georgia 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 204,000 children in Georgia 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 Georgia alone, tobacco use claims 10,300 lives and costs $3.2 billion in health care bills each year. Currently, 17 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 Georgia include:
On March 15, Morehouse College will celebrate Kick Butts Day during its 43rd annual Morehouse College Tiger Relays. Students will hand out tobacco prevention materials with the aim of educating the public about the high prevalence of tobacco-related diseases, risk factors and tobacco-related deaths among the African American community. Location: B.T. Harvey Stadium at Morehouse College, 830 Westview Drive, Atlanta. Time: 9 AM. Contact: Denise Smith (843) 476-9782.
Community Action for Teens (CAT) and Teens Against Tobacco Use (TATU) in Clarkston will educate and mobilize the diverse immigrant and refugee community in the area about the dangers of tobacco use. Youth will create multilingual information and show visual displays to show the deadly consequences caused by tobacco products. Time: 4:30 PM. Location: Indian Creek Elementary School’s gymnasium, 724 N. Indian Creek Drive, Clarkston. Contact: Karuna Ramachandran (352) 870-6640.
H.E.A.R.T. To H.E.L.P. Youth team members will raise awareness in the community about Big Tobacco’s deceitful tactics by conducting environmental scans of tobacco advertising in the southwest region. The findings from the data collections will be presented to local policymakers. Time: 4 PM. Location: Shell Food Mart, 3 Joseph East Lowery Boulevard, Atlanta. Contact: Denise Smith (843) 476-9782.
The Clayton County Board of Health is sponsoring a visual public service announcement (PSA) competition for youth ages 12 to 18. Youth will create PSAs about tobacco use in the U.S. and winners will be displayed in the lobby of the Clayton County Board of Health. Time: 9 AM. Location: 1117 Battlecreek Road, Jonesboro. Contact: Karnesha Slaughter (678) 479-2226.
(Note: all events are on March 19 unless otherwise indicated.)
For a full list of Kick Butts Day events in Georgia, visit http://www.kickbuttsday.org/map. Additional information about tobacco, including state-by-state statistics, can be found at www.tobaccofreekids.org.
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