Despite a massive reduction in the percentage of Americans who smoke in the last few decades, 36.5 million people in the U.S. still smoke, and nearly half of them suffer from a smoking-related disease or illness, but Kick Butts Day wants to change that.
What is Kick Butts Day?
Kick Butts Day is a national day of activism that was created to empower people of all ages (but especially young people) to raise awareness about the problem of tobacco abuse in their communities, to inform fellow young people about the oft-deceptive nature of tobacco advertising, and to urge political, business, and cultural leaders to help protect Americans from smoking and smoking-related diseases.
Who Started Kick Butts Day? When was it started?
Kick Butts Day was founded and is currently organized by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that works toward empowering, educating, and helping young people understand and avoid the harmful side effects of tobacco use. The first Kick Butts Day was held in 1996, so this year’s Kick Butts Day will be the 22nd in the day’s history.
What Does Kick Butts Day Want to Change?
While youth smoking has consistently decreased for the last few decades, millions of young people in America are still smoking– and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids attributes much of that to tobacco industry marketing efforts. According to the Campaign’s website, Kick Butts day is specifically intended as a way for kids to understand, analyze, and criticize the way tobacco is being marketed to them.
Specific tobacco marketing strategies that young people should be aware of include:
- “Splashy” ads in large magazines like Sports Illustrated
- Price discounts, in-store advertising aimed at (or friendly towards) kids and teens
- E-cigarettes and vaporizers
- Sweet and flavored tobacco products
When young people begin to realize exactly how they’re being persuaded, they can begin to stand up against deceptive and misleading advertising and make healthy, independent, and well-informed life choices.
What are Young People Doing for Kick Butts Day?
In schools, libraries, and youth centers across the country, young people everywhere are participating in a variety of activities to increase their awareness about the harms of smoking and the benefits of quitting. In particular, students will study the medical and economic effects of smoking on American society, including the fact that nearly 500,000 Americans die each year from illness directly caused by smoking and that smoking costs more than $300 billion each year in terms of health care costs and lost economic productivity.
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