Breakthrough Patient Recruitment

: Kick Butts Day—A Chance to Stand Up to Big Tobacco

Kick Butts Day—A Chance to Stand Up to Big Tobacco

Project Manager

Tomorrow is Kick Butts Day, a day for youth to become empowered to say no to Big Tobacco (and of course, the deadly products they wield). The annual event is organized by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and is designed as a way to get groups of young people, teachers, and advocates to hold local events across the country to "raise awareness of the problem of tobacco use in their state or community; encourage youth to reject the tobacco industry's deceptive marketing and stay tobacco-free; and urge elected officials to take action to protect kids from tobacco."

Although I think at this point it is common knowledge that tobacco is bad for people, I find that more and more, people question whether tobacco and cigarettes are "still an issue." While concerted efforts across different levels of society have made great strides in reducing the burden of tobacco-related diseases, tobacco still kills more than 400,000 people each year in the United States alone! That's 1,200 people each day. And, unfortunately, most smokers started smoking and became addicted before they were even legally allowed to purchase tobacco. The fact is that 18 percent of high schoolers smoke.

Kick Butts Day provides a variety of activity ideas for groups to use or adapt to host a local event for their community. Last year, the day registered more than 1,200 Kick Butts Day events, and that number is expected to be even higher this year! Some of the most interesting event ideas include "Airing out Big Tobacco's 'Dirty Laundry,'" in which people are encouraged to write quotes from the tobacco industry archives about marketing to kids on old laundry items and then hang them on a laundry line with clothes pins. Meanwhile, the "Billions of Butts, KBD style" encourages participants to use rubber gloves to pick up all the cigarette butts in their town and count them. I think this could be particularly interesting if combined with an initiative like the one in Vancouver, BC, in which the city has partnered with TerraCycle to recycle cigarette butts. After all, cigarette butts are the number one type of litter in the world.

An incredibly important aspect of tobacco control, and to me, what the term "kick butts" actually brings to mind, is kicking the addiction to tobacco. Obviously, we don't want young people to take up smoking. As mentioned, 18 percent of high school students are already regular smokers! In addition to raising awareness about the burden of tobacco, it's essential to provide resources for quitting to people who already smoke. Smokefree Teen has some great resources for teens who are looking to quit smoking cigarettes, and the American Cancer Society has some great tips for anyone trying to quit.

So, together let's kick butts by raising awareness around the fact that tobacco is STILL the leading preventable cause of death worldwide and lend a helping hand to people who are trying to quit smoking.

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