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Kick Butts Day is a program of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

Kick Butts Blog

Kick Butts by hosting a tobacco cleanup!

Posted by Lily Kraft on 4 Feb 2016

In anticipation of Kick Butts Day, we ask advocates to show us how and why they kick butts by sharing their story.

Our Western Youth Advocate of the Year, Lily, recently kicked butts by planning a Billions of Butts tobacco clean-up! She shares her story and provides tips for planning your own successful clean-up!

I am a student at Rocky Mountain College, which does not have a tobacco-free campus. My group, Tobacco-Free RMC, is focused on implementing a tobacco-free policy across school. We work to make this goal a reality by hosting monthly events that educate students, faculty and staff on the harms of tobacco and explain what a tobacco-free campus is.

Recently, we held a campus clean-up during our homecoming celebrations to illustrate the problem of tobacco litter, such as cigarette butts. Through this event, we were able to demonstrate the negative impact of tobacco on our campus in a visually compelling way. Tobacco clean-ups are a great way to advocate for a tobacco-free policy, whether it’s at your local beaches, parks, or on your college campus!

A few key components made our event a success:

Planning Ahead

Our event was successful because we planned ahead. That gave us a lot of time to advertise the event. We also let the grounds supervisor know about our event well in advance. On the day of the event, we assembled on a walkway at the intersection of many popular campus buildings. Participants wore our group’s t-shirts to help us get noticed and stimulate conversation.

Thinking Visually

A month before our event, we purchased trash bags, gloves, water bottles, a dry erase board, and a 10-gallon fish tank. Any time group members found tobacco litter outside, including cigarette butts, packaging, and chew bottles, it went into the fish tank. The fish tank moved around campus and was placed in areas with high student traffic. By the day of the event, the fish tank was half-full and disgusting!

Maximizing Impact

We maximized the impact of our event by creating partnerships and using our resources to make our event fun and encourage participation. The University Cafeteria sponsored a barbeque lunch on the lawn during the event. People who came to participate in the event got a trash bag and gloves. When they came back to the tent with a bag of tobacco litter, they were given a t-shirt and lunch.

At the end of event, our campus was clean and many people had heard our message. People like free things, especially free apparel and food! If you have both, you have a higher chance of more people showing up.

We also planned the event near another large event (homecoming), which drew more attention, and notified the media.

The combination of these things made for a successful event. Check out the Billions of Butts activity in the Activities Database today and get started planning your clean-up today!


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About Lily KraftLily is the 2015 West Region Youth Advocate of the Year. Lily has been fighting tobacco for seven years and founded her local chapter of reACT (Teens Reacting Against Corporate Tobacco), which is Montana’s youth-led movement against Big Tobacco. Lily was the first high school student appointed to the Montana Tobacco Advisory Board. Lily is a freshman at Rocky Mountain College, where she is advocating for a tobacco-free campus.
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