Health and Family Services Cabinet
Kick Butts Day 2006 - Teens Reaching Out to Teens to Save Lives
Hundreds of teens across Kentucky are gearing up for Kick Butts Day activities aimed at educating their peers about the health risks of tobacco use and the marketing practices of the tobacco industry. In several communities, students are hoping to get the attention of local lawmakers to encourage passage of smoking ordinances.
Currently, 28 percent of Kentucky high school students and 15 percent of middle school students smoke. Both rates exceed the national averages of 22 and 15 percent respectively. To meet the Healthy Kentuckians 2010 goals, current cigarette smoking must be reduced.
“Research indicates that increasing the cost of cigarettes has a direct effect on tobacco consumption among teens,” said Irene Centers, program manager of the state’s Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program.
Survey results from the 2004 Kentucky Youth Tobacco Survey also indicate that nearly 60 percent of the high school students who smoke have tried to quit in the past 12 months.
“It’s great to see that fewer young people are taking up smoking and amazing to see teens becoming involved in their communities to help their peers avoid risks associated with tobacco use,” said William Hacker, M.D., commissioner of the Department for Public Health. “Many teens become addicted smokers before they leave high school. If they can be encouraged not to start, we can save lives.”
Across the state, teens will participate in a variety of Kick Butts Day activities to increase awareness of the effects of tobacco use.
· High school students in Bowling Green and Glasgow will set up displays and distribute material to classmates about the health risks of tobacco use as well as mentoring to students in the lower grades. Other activities have been planned throughout these communities.
· Kick Butts Day was observed throughout March in Woodford County. Posters, trivia announcements and information brochures were displayed throughout the high school.
· Johnson County is using this opportunity to encourage people to buy baby items instead of cigarettes for the day. The baby items will be distributed at the World’s Greatest Baby Shower on April 27.
· The Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) club in Pulaski County have created public service announcements to air on radio station WKDO.
· Eighth-grade students from an Adair County Middle School health class will study the health hazards of tobacco use and will use that information to write letters to the local newspaper.
· High school students in Adair County’s Students Against Drunk Driving/Champions club have created radio public service announcements to be aired in the area.
· In Jefferson County, the Portland Thunder Youth Task Force, Portland Now Prevention Partnership, Metro Louisville Health Department and Jefferson County Smoke Free Coalition will sponsor a Kick Butts Day Block party on Wednesday, April 5, from noon to 3 p.m. at Neighborhood House. Activities will include a Street Ball Showdown/Dunking Contest, Rap Contest, Dance-Off and other games. Special guest will be MC Vice Versatile. Hotdogs, chips and lemonade will be served.
· Northern Kentucky Independence District Health Department will hold a youth prevention conference, “Up in Smoke: It’s A Matter of Life and Breath,” on April 22.
Tobacco is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States. Nearly 8,000 Kentuckians die each year as a result of tobacco use. Every day more than 4,000 kids nationwide try their first cigarette; another 2,000 become addicted smokers.
This year marks the 11th anniversary of Kick Butts Day activities. Kick Butts Day is sponsored by the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, a Washington D.C.-based youth advocacy group supported by such non-profit agencies as the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, American Medical Association and many others.
For information about Kick Butts Day activities in your area, contact the tobacco coordinator at your local health department. For more information about the Kentucky Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program, go to http://chfs.ky.gov/dph/tobacco.htm; or contact program staff at (502) 564-7996.