The Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) chapter at Bennie Dover Jackson Middle School will hold a “Billions of Butts” initiative at local parks throughout New London. The event will begin at 2:15 p.m. on Tuesday, March 18, at Riverside Park (Adelaide Street and Eastern Avenue, New London).
Kick Butts Day is sponsored by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. The 19th annual rally actually takes place on March 19, when more than 1,400 events will bring youth together to encourage their peers to stay tobacco-free and educate their communities about the tobacco industry’s harmful marketing practices.
Here's more information about Kick Butts Day from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids:
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 56,000 children in Connecticut 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 Connecticut alone, tobacco use claims 4,300 lives and costs $2 billion in health care bills each year. Currently, 15.9 percent of the state’s high school students smoke.
“On Kick Butts Day, kids will stand up and reject Big Tobacco’s manipulative marketing,” said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “Elected officials must stand with them by supporting proven measures to protect kids from tobacco addiction, including tobacco taxes, smoke-free laws and prevention programs. On the 50th anniversary of the first Surgeon General’s report, we need bold action to create a tobacco-free generation and end the tobacco epidemic for good.”