Michigan Kids to 'Kick Butts' on March 18

State Leaders Urged to Support Tobacco Prevention Initiatives

WASHINGTON, March 13, 2015 — (PRNewswire) — Kids in Michigan 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.)

Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids logo.

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 Michigan, tobacco companies spend $276.1 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."

In Michigan, tobacco use claims 16,200 lives and costs $4.59 billion in health care bills each year. Currently, 11.8 percent of Michigan'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 Michigan, activities include:

The Teens Talking Truth (T3) youth advocacy group is partnering with the Macomb County Tobacco Coalition to facilitate an interactive presentation for fourth and fifth graders at Messmore Elementary. The presentation will focus on the thousands of harmful chemicals in cigarettes, discuss the negative health effects of tobacco, and promote a lifelong commitment to staying tobacco-free. Time: 9:30 AM. Location: 8742 Dill Drive, Sterling Heights. Contact: Lynda Zott (586) 218-5271.

Students at Union City High School will show posters and public service announcements they created about the health risks, costs and effects of using tobacco. Students, family members and the community will be encouraged to attend. Time: 10:30 AM. Location: 430 Saint Joseph Street, Union City. Contact: Richard Maples (517) 741-3323.

SAFE (Substance Abuse Free Environment) Youth in Emmet and Charlevoix Counties will produce a video highlighting the similarities between Big Tobacco's advertising methods from the 1950s and the advertising of e-cigarettes today. They will partner with pizza shops in six communities to place anti-tobacco stickers on pizza boxes. Time: 12 PM. Location: B.C. Pizza, 910 Spring Street, Petoskey. Contact: Susan Pulaski (231) 347-5813.

The Barry-Eaton District Health Department and the Eaton County Substance Abuse Advisory Group will partner with the local Biggby Coffee franchise to promote youth anti-tobacco advocacy by sticking Kick Butts Day stickers on coffee cups for Biggby's 20th Anniversary. Time: 9 AM. Location: 504 Lansing Street, Charlotte. Contact: Lauren Cibor (517) 541-2624.

Cherry Health in Grand Rapids will host an interactive informational table at the Leonard Street Counseling Center to raise awareness about the health issues caused by tobacco, especially for youth. "Swag bags" will be awarded for correctly answering trivia questions. Time: 10 AM. Location: 1400 Leonard Street N.E., Grand Rapids. Contact: Allison Young (616) 648-9519.

For a full list of Kick Butts Day activities in Michigan, 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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To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/michigan-kids-to-kick-butts-on-march-18-300050280.html

SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
William Walters, 202-745-5068; Or Mina Radman, 202-296-5469
Web: http://www.tobaccofreekids.org

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