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BNL And Barr-Reeves Students Will 'Kick Butts' Today
Updated March 18, 2015 5:36 AM | Filed under: Education
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(UNDATED) - Kids in Indiana will stand up to Big Tobacco today 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.

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 Indiana, tobacco companies spend $271.7 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.

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.

"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 Indiana, tobacco use claims 11,100 lives and costs $2.93 billion in health care bills each year. Currently, 13.7 percent of Indiana's high school students smoke.

At 2 p.m., youth from Bedford will place 28 tombstones outside of the Lawrence County Courthouse, representing the number of Hoosiers who die every day from tobacco.

In Montgomery, members of the Students Against Drunk Driving Club will host an event at 11:30 a.m. at Barr-Reeve High School in Montgomery to raise awareness about the dangers of smoking. There students will set up tombstones with information about the negative effects of tobacco.

Both groups will create social media posts with hashtag #NotAReplacement as a pledge to stay tobacco-free.

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