Indiana Kids ‘Kick Butts’ on March 21

WASHINGTON, March 19, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Kids in Indiana will take
center stage in the fight against tobacco on March 21 as they join thousands of
young people nationwide for the 17th annual Kick Butts Day. More than 1,100
events are planned across the nation (for a list of local events see below).

Organized by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and sponsored by the United
Health Foundation, Kick Butts Day is an annual celebration of youth leadership
and activism in the fight against tobacco use. On Kick Butts Day, youth will
encourage their peers to stay tobacco-free and educate their communities about
the dangers of tobacco and the tobacco industry’s harmful marketing practices.

This year, Kick Butts Day comes just after a new report by the U.S. Surgeon
General found that while the nation has made tremendous progress in reducing
youth smoking, youth tobacco use remains a “pediatric epidemic” that requires
urgent action. The Surgeon General’s report reached the following conclusions:

– While the high school smoking rate has been cut nearly in half since the
mid-1990s, more than 3.6 million middle and high school students still
smoke.
– In addition to long-term consequence such as cancer and heart disease,
tobacco use immediately harms the health of youth and young adults.
Smoking quickly causes nicotine addiction, cardiovascular damage, slower
lung growth and shortness of breath.
– Tobacco marketing causes kids to start and continue using tobacco
products. Tobacco companies spend more than $10 billion a year – more
than $1 million an hour – to advertise and promote their products.
– Science and experience have identified proven strategies to reduce youth
tobacco use. These include mass media campaigns, increasing the price of
cigarettes through higher tobacco taxes, smoke-free policies and school
and community prevention programs.
“Kids are sending two powerful messages on Kick Butts Day: They want the tobacco
companies to stop targeting them, and they want elected leaders to protect them
from tobacco,” said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free
Kids. “We know how to win the fight against tobacco. Elected officials across
the nation should support these proven solutions, including higher tobacco
taxes, strong smoke-free laws and well-funded tobacco prevention programs.”

Tobacco use is the number one cause of preventable death in the United States,
killing more than 400,000 people and costing $96 billion in health care bills
each year. Nationally, 19.5 percent of high school students still smoke, and
another 1,000 kids become regular smokers every day.

In Indiana, tobacco use claims 9,700 lives and costs $2.1 billion in health care
bills each year. Currently, 18.1 percent of the state’s high school students
smoke.

On Kick Butts Day, kids turn the tables on Big Tobacco with events that range
from “They put WHAT in a cigarette?” demonstrations to health fairs to rallies
at state capitols. Activities in Indiana include (all events are on March 21
unless otherwise noted):

Members of the Wabash County Voice club youth movement will organize a public
cigarette butt cleanup at the local Court House in Wabash to promote a smoke
free, clean, and healthy community. The mayor of Wabash will read a proclamation
to kick off the event. Time: 4:30 p.m. Location: Wabash County Judicial Center,
91 W. Hill Street, Wabash. Contact: Nicole Hicks (260) 571-6934.

Youth from the Boys and Girls Clubs of Wayne County will participate in a Kick
Butts Day carnival in Richmond where they will learn about the dangers of
smoking and what is actually in a cigarette. Time: 4 p.m. Location: Richard E.
Jeffers Boys & Girls Club, 1717 S. L Street, Richmond. Contact: Stacey Steele
(765) 962-6922.

Members of the Voice Club in Huntington will clean up three city blocks and
sidewalks leading to the city’s parks, while displaying signs with alarming
statistics about smoking. Time: 3:30 p.m. Location: Boys and Girls Club of
Huntington, 608 E. State Street, Huntington. Contact: Mandy Reber (260)
701-3313.

Youth from the Voice Club in Bedford will display 28 tombstones that represent
the number of Hoosiers who die every day due to secondhand smoke. City Council
President, Byron Bucker will be on hand to kick off the event. Time: 10 a.m.
Location: Central Park, 17th & Q Street, Bedford. Karin DuBois (812) 340-6808.

Kids from the Minority Health Coalition in Elkhart will come together to “skate
out” tobacco with a skating party. The party will include activities teaching
the participants about the dangers of smoking and secondhand smoke. Time: 5 p.m.
Location: Holiday Roller Rink, 28736 County Road 20 West, Elkhart. Contact: Tara
Morris (574) 522-0128.

For a full list of Kick Butts Day events in Indiana, visit
www.kickbuttsday.org/events. Additional information about tobacco, including
state-by-state statistics, can be found at www.tobaccofreekids.org.

About the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is a leading force in the fight to reduce
tobacco use and its deadly toll in the United States and around the world. Our
vision is a future free of the death and disease caused by tobacco. We work to
prevent kids from smoking, help smokers quit and protect everyone from
secondhand smoke. For more information, visit www.tobaccofreekids.org.

SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids