SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Adrian Bridgwater, Carmen Gonzalez, Dana Gardner, Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz

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Idaho Kids Will 'Kick Butts' on March 19

State Leaders Urged to Support Tobacco Prevention Initiatives

WASHINGTON, March 13, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Kids in Idaho 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.)

Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids logo

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 30,000 children in Idaho 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 Idaho alone, tobacco use claims 1,600 lives and costs $508 million in health care bills each year. Currently, 14.3 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 Idaho include:

On March 15, Boise State University Shared Leadership and Wellness Services will hold a cigarette butt cleanup to raise awareness of the smoke-free campus policy as well as to help beautify the Boise River Greenbelt. Time: 1 PM. Location: Friendship Bridge at Julia Davis Park, 700 S. Capitol Boulevard, Boise. Contact: Lauren Baines (208) 426-2752.

Students at Malad Middle School will participate in a Kick Butts Day assembly by signing an "I pledge to be tobacco-free" banner. Students will also display the number of people who die each day in the U.S. from tobacco and secondhand smoke in proportion to the student body. Time: 2:50 PM. Location: 175 Jenkins Avenue, Malad City. Contact: Leah Hunt (208) 766-2619.

Members of Clark Fork Junior/Senior High School Teens Against Tobacco Use (TATU) program in Clark Fork will participate in an anti-tobacco assembly on Kick Butts Day. The teens will share tobacco statistics, hands-on displays and interactive activities to show the deadly consequences of tobacco use. Time: 9:25 AM. Location: 121 E. 4th Street, Clark Fork. Contact: Tom Prez (208) 255-7177 ext. 4320.

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

For a full list of Kick Butts Day events in Idaho, 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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SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

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