Local events aim to raise awareness amongst kids about the risks of tobacco

PIMA COUNTY – On March 21st 2018, kids, youth leaders and health advocates all around America will celebrate Kick Butts Day (KBD), a national day of anti-smoking activism. On this day, community members will come together through local events to raise awareness around the harms of tobacco use and encourage youth to stay tobacco free.

It is no accident that tobacco is an ongoing threat to our children. Every day, approximately 1,300 people in this country die as a result from smoking. For each of these deaths, at least two youth or young adults become regular smokers each day and almost 90% of those replacement smokers inhaled their first cigarette by age 18. Youth tobacco use may be related to the fact that tobacco companies spend 8.89 billion a year- 1 million every hour- to market their deadly and addictive products. Other forms of tobacco, including chew, hookahs and all forms of e-cigarettes, continue to be a threat to high school, junior high and even elementary school students in Arizona.

Health related threats exist with e-cigarettes in addition to the potentially high risk of youth nicotine addiction. Nicotine concentrations and design of e-cigarettes vary widely due to limited regulation on manufacturing, and this in turn can lead to issues such as exploding devices and nicotine poisoning in children. Exploding e-cigarette devices have caused severe burns and injuries to both users and non-users. Nicotine poising primarily occurs with curious children who have swallowed the nicotine liquid known as “e-juice.” The percent of children who are poisoned under the age of six rose 1,500% between 2013 and 2015, and more than 90% of exposed children where under the age of two.

On Kick Butts Day we challenge our communities to stand up against tobacco and, with a level of urgency, implement action that parallels the enormous scope of the problem. We cannot claim victory until every kid has a chance to live tobacco-free and we have ended the tobacco epidemic for good. For information on how to participate March 21st, contact us at 520-724-7716, or visit healthypima.org/tobacco.