Jackson, MS - Youth across the state of Mississippi will take part in Kick Butts Day Wednesday, March 18, 2015, as part of an ongoing effort to educate young people on 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. The Mississippi State Department of Health's (MSDH) Office of Tobacco Control and its local tobacco-free coalitions anticipate that the activities will reduce smoking and tobacco use rates among youth in Mississippi, where 4.1 percent of public middle school students currently smoke cigarettes, according to the 2014 Mississippi Youth Tobacco Survey. The survey also concluded that 18,828 public middle school students reported having tried a cigarette at least once.
In Mississippi alone, the tobacco industry spends approximately $121.4 million per year to market their harmful products, said Roy Hart, Director of the MSDH Office of Tobacco Control. We may not have a marketing budget comparable to that of tobacco companies, but we hope to counter their advertisements by educating and empowering Mississippi's youth with Kick Butts Day activities.
Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, killing approximately 480,000 people every year. This is more than AIDS, alcohol, car accidents, illegal drugs, murders and suicides combined. According to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, each year 3,300 Mississippi kids under the age of 18 become new, daily smokers and 68,000 Mississippi kids now under 18 will ultimately die prematurely from smoking.
The Mississippi Tobacco-Free coalitions across the state have planned activities to kick off this campaign and educate students about how the tobacco industry is targeting today's youth. While community events are a large part of Kick Butts Day, the primary goal is to foster knowledge on the dangers and harmful effects of smoking. For a full list of Kick Butts Day activities in Mississippi, visit www.kicksbuttsday.org/map.
To learn more about our Tobacco Free Coalitions visit, http://www.tobaccofreems.org. For more information on tobacco prevention programs and other youth events, call the Mississippi State Department of Health's Office of Tobacco Control at 601-991-6050 or visit www.healthyms.com/tobacco.
Follow MSDH by e-mail and social media at HealthyMS.com/connect.
Press Contact: MSDH Office of Communications, (601) 576-7667
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