Students at Mableton Elementary School in Cobb
County learned about the chemicals used to make
cigarettes on Kick Butts Day in 2012.
Saying no to tobacco saves
lives, no matter what tools and tactics tobacco companies
use to get people hooked on their products. That's the
message kids will hear on Kick Butts Day, a national
observance encouraging kids and teens to speak out about the
dangers of smoking and the methods of tobacco companies.
the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Kick Butts Day falls
this year on March 20, and groups in Georgia will join
others across the U.S. who are hosting events to raise
awareness of the problem of tobacco use in their
communities, encourage youth to stay tobacco-free and to
urge elected officials to take action to protect youth from
tobacco and secondhand smoke.
Redding, M.D., director of health promotion and disease
prevention at the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH),
said Kick Butts Day is an important opportunity to make
young people aware of just how harmful tobacco is to health
and the lengths to which tobacco companies go to get young
people hooked on smoking or smokeless tobacco.
and young adults are uniquely susceptible to social and
environmental influences to use tobacco. Advertising and
promotional activities by tobacco companies have shown to
cause the onset and continuation of smoking among
adolescents and young adults," she said.
young Georgians to say no to tobacco is vital to the state's
health. In 2011, 23 percent of high school students and 11
percent of middle school students in Georgia reported using
some form of tobacco, numbers that have changed little since
2005. About 10 percent of high school students who have ever
smoked reported that they tried their first whole cigarette
before they were 11 years old.
young people should remember that smoking, smokeless tobacco
and secondhand smoke are never safe and can be deadly.
the use of any type of tobacco product can lead to heart
attacks, strokes and cancers. These diseases can prevent
young people from leading an active, fulfilling life," she
organized around the state for Kick Butts Day aim to keep
Georgia's kids from starting to smoke and to convince
current smokers to quit. On March 16, youth groups organized
by Learn to Grow and the HEART coalition, youth advisory and
health advocacy groups, attended the Morehouse Tiger Relays
track event at B.T. Harvey Stadium at Morehouse College. The
students passed out educational materials about the
chemicals found in cigarettes, the dangers of smoking and
secondhand smoke, and asked attendees to sign pledges to
Early County High School will hear and see anti-tobacco
commercials in school and on television on Kick Butts Day,
sponsored by the Cancer Coalition of South Georgia. The
organization will also build an iPledge wall at the school,
encouraging students to become or remain tobacco-free.
Students can also write postcards to the Early County School
Board, urging them to move forward with a vote to make the
school district 100 percent tobacco-free.
A group of
students at Meadowcreek High School in Norcross will be
schooling their peers about how tobacco companies target
their products to youth and use misinformation to promote
tobacco, as well as the dangerous health effects of tobacco.
These student educators took part in a tobacco prevention
workshop hosted by the Gwinnett, Newton, and Rockdale County
Health Departments in November.
public health staff in Cobb County and the counties of the
Southeast Health District will pick up cigarette butts
around school campuses and local parks to show how big of a
problem smoking poses in those communities.
The goal is to keep as many young people as possible from
picking up a tobacco habit. But DPH also wants to help those
who have started quit tobacco for good. Any Georgians ages
13 and older who need help quitting can call the Georgia
Tobacco Quit Line (1-877-270-STOP) for free counseling and
support in kicking their habits.