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California kids 'Kick Butts' March 24

Posted: March 18, 2010 2:34 p.m.
Updated: March 19, 2010 12:26 p.m.
 
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Kids in California will take center stage in the fight against tobacco on Wednesday, March 24 as they join thousands of young people nationwide for the 15th annual "Kick Butts" Day.

More than 1,000 events are planned in all 50 states and the District of Columbia (for a list of local events see below).

Sponsored by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Kick Butts Day is an annual celebration of youth leadership and activism in the fight against tobacco use.

Kids are sending two powerful messages on Kick Butts Day: They want the tobacco companies to stop targeting them with marketing for cigarettes and other tobacco products, and they want elected leaders to do more to protect them from tobacco.

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and other public health advocates are calling on elected officials to support proven measures to reduce tobacco use and its devastating toll.

As states struggle with record budget deficits, state leaders should increase tobacco taxes both to prevent kids from smoking and to raise revenue to balance budgets and fund critical programs.

States should also enact smoke-free air laws that apply to all workplaces and public places and implement well-funded tobacco prevention and cessation programs.

"On Kick Butts Day, kids are standing up to the tobacco companies, and elected officials should stand with them by supporting proven tobacco prevention measures," said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. "We know what works to reduce smoking and other tobacco use. Every state should implement these proven solutions, including higher tobacco taxes, well-funded tobacco prevention programs and smoke-free air laws."

Tobacco use is the number one cause of preventable death in the United States, killing more than 400,000 people and costing $96 billion in health care bills each year.

While the nation has made significant progress in reducing youth smoking, 20 percent of high school students still smoke.

In California, tobacco use claims 36,600 lives and costs $9.14 billion in health care bills each year. Currently, 15.4 percent of the state's high school students smoke, and 130,200 kids try cigarettes for the first time each year.

On Kick Butts Day, kids turn the tables on Big Tobacco with events that range from "They put WHAT in a cigarette?" demonstrations to mock-funerals for the Marlboro Man to rallies at state capitols.

Activities in California include (all events are on March 24 unless otherwise noted):

On March 27, students at the Catherine L. Zane Middle School in Eureka will hold a cigarette bunch cleanup on the beach at 12:15 p.m. with the Humboldt Surfrider Foundation to remove this growing eyesore.
Time: 12:15 p.m.
Location: 2155 South Street, Eureka.
For more information about the cigarette brunch cleanup, contact Denise George at (707) 441-5574.

Art students at Ventura High School in Ventura will participate in a chalk festival which will showcase creative and thought provoking artwork that conveys anti-tobacco messages.
Time: All Day.
Location: 2 N. Catalina Street, Ventura.
For more information, contact Joyce Cooper at (805) 216-3234.

On March 27, BREATHE California of Los Angeles County's Teen Tobacco Cessation Club will participate in a cigarette butt cleanup at Venice Beach and present a large jar of cigarette butts to the council members of Santa Monica.
Time: 10 a.m.
Location: Venice Beach.
For more information, contact Mildred Flores at (323) 935-8050 x252.

Kids from all over San Luis Obispo County will be advocating for tobacco-free outdoor areas and tobacco retail licensing laws in places like Morro Bay, Paso Robles and Pismo Beach. These measures would restrict youth access to cigarettes.
Time: All Day.
For more information contact, Christina LeFevre at (805) 781-5564.

The Fontana Lewis Library & Technology Center will host a Kick Butts carnival which will include a pledge wall, a game of "Kick the Can" and other family activities. They will also be passing out educational materials and quit kits to those who want to quit smoking.
Time: 12 p.m.
Location: 8437 Sierra Avenue, Fontana.
For more information, contact Bernadette Beltran at (909) 387-6623.

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