Baton Rouge – Schools across the Louisiana will take part in Kick Butts Day this Wednesday, Apr. 2, 2008, as part of the ongoing effort to educate young people of the dangerous effects of tobacco.
Kick Butts Day is a nationwide event to encourage youth to join in the fight against tobacco and learn the facts about smoking cessation in a fun and educational way. This year’s theme is “Big Tobacco: Making Profits, Taking Lives.”
The LDH Tobacco Control Program and its partners anticipate that the activities will positively impact smoking cessation among youth in Louisiana, where more than 50 percent of public middle school students reported having ever smoked a cigarette and 17.1 percent currently smoke cigarettes, according to the 2000 Louisiana Youth Tobacco Survey.
“In Louisiana alone, the tobacco industry spends over $23 million per month to market their harmful products,” said LDH Secretary Alan Levine. “While our marketing budget does not compare to that of the tobacco companies, we hope to counter their advertisements by educating and empowering Louisiana's youth with Kick Butts Day activities.”
At least 12 schools across the state have planned activities, from presentations on the steps of the State Capitol to creating public service announcements to air on local radio. To kick off this campaign, students from Carroll Jr. High School in Monroe will hold a mock trial for big tobacco in front of their student assembly. Students at Bienville Parish’s Ringgold High School and Ringgold Elementary will learn about how the tobacco industry is targeting today’s youth market. Similar events and educational presentations are currently planned in Assumption, Lafayette and East Baton Rouge parish schools.
While community events are a large part of Kick Butts Day, the ultimate goal is to foster knowledge of the dangers of smoking. Raising awareness of the tactics used by the tobacco industry to entice young people to smoke in spite of the harmful effects of tobacco will be the unifying message for all Kick Butts Day events.
For more information about Kick Butts Day, visit www.kickbuttsday.org