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Press Release

Virginia Kids 'Kick Butts' on March 21

Posted on: 19 Mar 12

PR Newswire

WASHINGTON, March 19, 2012

State Leaders Urged to Support Tobacco Prevention Initiatives

WASHINGTON, March 19, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Kids in Virginia 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 Virginia, tobacco use claims 9,200 lives and costs $2.08 billion in health care bills each year.  Currently, 19.7 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 Virginia include (all events are on March 21 unless otherwise noted):

On March 19, local radio station, 3WZ-FM, will broadcast students from Parry McCluer High School in Buena Vista voicing why they choose to be tobacco free.  Time: 3:05 PM.  Location: 100 Bradford Drive, Buena Vista.  Contact: BreAnne Rogers (540) 462-6665.

On March 20, local radio station, 3WZ-FM, will broadcast students fromRockbridge County High School in Lexingtonvoicing their opinion about tobacco use and the harmful effects of smoking.  Time: 3:15 PM.  Location: 143 Greenhouse Road, Lexington.  Contact: BreAnne Rogers (540) 462-6665.

Students, faculty and staff at Sweet Briar College in Sweet Briarwill demonstrate the harmful effects of tobacco-use by displaying shoes in the school's atrium to represent the number of people that die each day from tobacco-related causes.  The American Cancer Society will participate in the event by distributing educational materials about quitting.  Time: 11 AM.  Location: Sweet Briar College (Dining Hall), 134 Chapel Road, Sweet Briar.  Contact: Jennifer McManamay (434) 381-6330.

The Y St. youth-led movement and Clean and Smoke Free Air Coalition of Alexandria in Alexandriawill display posters at over 100 bus stops around the city to educate the community about the dangers of smoking.  Students and faculty at T.C. Williams High Schoolwill join city council members, residents and department of health representatives to show their support for this effort by hosting at a public event outside the school's bus stop.  Time: 3:30 PM.  Location: 3330 King Street, Alexandria.  Contact: Jack Hendrickson (414) 614-9349. 

For a full list of Kick Butts Day events in Virginia, visit  Additional information about tobacco, including state-by-state statistics, can be found at

About the Campaign for Tobacco-Free KidsThe 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

SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

PR Newswire

Last updated on: 19/03/2012

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