I was very pleased to join my friend Alex, the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids Youth Ambassador, to launch the national media tour for this year’s Kick Butts Day! Alex and I, along with CTFK staff, conducted numerous radio and television interviews across the country to encourage everyone to get involved in the fight to protect our kids from tobacco-related illness.
Kids across the country took center stage on March 19, 2014, in the fight against tobacco as part of the 18th Annual Kick Butts Day. Organized by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and sponsored by 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 encouraged their peers to stay tobacco-free, and they educated their communities about the dangers of tobacco and the tobacco industry’s harmful marketing practices. The participating kids and teens organized events and activities, including health fairs; demonstrations and youth rallies held at state capitols across the country, to voice their stand against tobacco. Overall, there were more than 1,400 events scheduled across the nation, which engaged tens of thousands of youth of all ages.
“It is staggering that every day 1,000 kids become regular smokers, starting on a path to a lifetime of health issues including increased risks of heart disease and cancer,” said Reed Tuckson, M.D., senior medical advisor to United Health Foundation. “We need to do all we can to reduce youth smoking, and United Health Foundation is proud to support America’s kids by sponsoring Kick Butts Day.”
Tobacco use is the number one cause of preventable death in the United States, costing $96 billion in health care bills and killing more than 400,000 people each year, according to United Health Foundation’s America’s Health Rankings®. While the nation has made significant progress in reducing youth smoking, 3,000 kids try tobacco every day, and nearly 20 percent of high school students still smoke.