Students from around Tacoma will be ralling today at 5 p.m. at Tacoma City Hall to celebrate Kick Butts Day. The Mayor and City Council will be signing the proclamation then students will gather on the steps to celebrate and talk about the dangers of tobacco use.
The national effort has children stand up against tobacco on March 19, for the 19th annual Kick Butts Day. More than 1,400 events are planned across the nation. On Kick Butts Day, kids turn the tables on Big Tobacco in creative ways, with events that range from small classroom activities about the harmful ingredients in cigarettes to large rallies at state capitols.
Students from Tacoma’s Clover Creek Elementary will conduct a surprise flash mob during lunch, stomping to a song called “Stomp Out Tobacco.” Following the mob, students will march around the lunchroom with posters depicting the number of people who will have died during their lunch time from tobacco-related diseases.
Organized by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Kick Butts Day is an annual celebration of youth leadership and activism in the fight against tobacco. On Kick Butts Day, youth will encourage their peers to stay tobacco-free and educate their communities about the tobacco industry’s harmful marketing practices.
This year, Kick Butts Day comes as new information reaffirms the urgent need for action. The United States is marking the 50th anniversary of the first Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health, and a new Surgeon General’s report released in January found that smoking is even more hazardous than previously thought. Key findings of the report include:
• Each year, smoking kills 480,000 people in the U.S. and costs the nation at least $289 billion in health care bills and other economic losses.
• Without urgent action to reduce smoking, 5.6 million U.S. children alive today will die prematurely from smoking-caused disease. That includes 104,000 children in Washington alone.
• Tobacco marketing causes kids to start and continue using tobacco products.
Nationwide, tobacco companies spend $8.8 billion a year – one million dollars each hour – to market cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products. In particular, tobacco companies target youth with magazine ads, store ads and discounts, and fruit- and candy-flavored small cigars that look just like cigarettes.
In Washington alone, tobacco use claims 7,300 lives and costs $2.81 billion in health care bills each year. Currently, 9.5 percent of the state’s high school students smoke.