Smoking costs Americans $170 billion a year in direct medical costs, another $156 billion in lost productivity, and takes nearly half a million lives per year. Take a moment and imagine just how many lives, and just how much money Americans could save if smoking became history.
One group has spent a long time imagining a smoke-free future, and in recent years, they’ve been doing a more than just imagining. The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids has been organizing American youth for more than 20 years, and a substantial part of that organizing involves Kick Butts Day – a day each year in March in which young people all over America are encouraged to stand up against smoking.
To do this, kids and teens can engage in educational activities and awareness events to help the public understand more about the dangers of smoking. These often include meetings, speaking events, rallies, art and writing projects, and other creative events that can help teach kids and adults how to live a smart, safe, healthy, and tobacco-free life.
Since 1996, Kick Butts Day Has Encouraged People to Quit Smoking
The around 480,000 people who die in the U.S. every year from smoking-related diseases are cutting into tobacco company profits– and, according to The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, tobacco firms may be trying to find a new market in America’s youth. Though they aren’t allowed to directly market to kids and teens, the Campaign feels that a variety of the tobacco industry’s marketing and advertising materials reach– and negatively influence millions of children.
In particular, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free kids says that children and young people should be aware of:
- Flashy, trendy advertisements in kid, teen, and youth oriented magazines, like ESPN, Rolling Stone, or GQ
- Fruit-flavored and sweet flavored cigarettes and miniature cigars (and any advertising associated with them)
- Vaporizers, e-cigarettes, also commonly advertised using sweet or fruity flavors
It’s only when kids understand the deceptive nature of much of this advertising that they can truly break free from the influence of tobacco. With a newfound understanding of these deceptive marketing practices, they can help influence both their peers and other adults to avoid and/or quit smoking and other harmful forms of tobacco and nicotine abuse.
Kids Across the Country are Participating in Kick Butts Day Events
From schools and libraries to community and religious centers, young people across the country are participating in a variety of educational events for Kick Butts Day. Some schools are holding rallies and marches, while others are holding field trips and hosting memorial events for the Americans each year that are lost to smoking and smoking-related diseases. In some schools, organizations focusing on preventing drunk driving are also getting in on the Kick Butts Day celebrations, while in others, musical and theatrical performances and creative, artistic events are being held to allow students to express themselves while creating art that inspires people to get, be, and stay tobacco-free.
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