Kick Butts Day
March 19, 2014
Youth in Oklahoma and across the nation band together on Kick Butts Day to raise awareness about the tobacco industry targeting youth. Each day, more than 3,200 American youth under the age of 18 years old smoke their first cigarette and another 2,100 who are occasional smokers become daily smokers.
This day of activism empowers young Americans to stand up to Big Tobacco by exposing the underhanded tactics used by the tobacco industry to hook youth and young adults. Kick Butts Day events are planned nationwide, including more than 25 events in Oklahoma.
In 2006, the tobacco industry was convicted of racketeering under the federal Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations (RICO) act for defrauding the American people by lying about the health risks of smoking and industry marketing practices toward children. In 2009, a three-judge panel affirmed the conviction in federal court.
Although certain advertising, such as the use of cartoon characters and billboards, was banned as part of the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement, Big Tobacco still spends $160.3 million in Oklahoma each year to attract the next generation of smokers. The tobacco industry needs these “replacement smokers” to replace the 16 Oklahomans that die every day from a tobacco-use related illness or disease.
Tobacco use in films has rebounded upward in the past two years according to the 2014 Surgeon General’s Report. Studies show youth who are more frequently exposed to onscreen smoking are almost twice as likely to begin smoking compared to those exposed less frequently. If this pipeline of tobacco use continues, 87,000 Oklahoma kids alive today will ultimately die prematurely from a smoking related illness.
Kick Butts Day events and activities aim to reverse that trend by educating both young people and adults about the tobacco industry’s deceptive marketing practices and the benefits of a tobacco-free lifestyle.
Stand up. Speak out. Seize Control.
Find more info on Kick Butts Day at www.kickbuttsday.org.