Students at Natchitoches Junior High School participated in activities Friday, March 22 for National Kick Butts Day, which was this week. This day of youth advocacy is sponsored by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. Youth Summit Students from the school raised awareness about the dangers of smoking by hosting and participating in several activities, including a cigarette funeral, a relay race, a balloon race and more.
Kids in Louisiana united against tobacco use March 20 as they joined thousands of young people nationwide to mark Kick Butts Day, an annual day of youth activism sponsored by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. More than 1,000 events were planned across the United States. This year, kids focused on kicking Juul, the e-cigarette that has become enormously popular among youth across the country. While cigarette smoking among high school students nationwide has fallen to 8.1 percent, e-cigarette use among high schoolers rose by an alarming 78 percent in 2018 alone – to 20.8 percent of the student population. In 2018, more than 3.6 million middle and high school students used e-cigarettes. U.S. public health leaders have called youth e-cigarette use an “epidemic” that is addicting a new generation of kids. In Louisiana, 12.2 percent of high school students use e-cigarettes, while 12.3 percent smoke cigarettes. Tobacco use claims 7,200 lives in Louisiana and costs the state $1.9 billion in health care bills each year. In Louisiana, youth advocates are encouraging state lawmakers to pass a smoke-free law that would make all workplaces and public places smoke-free and protect everyone’s right to breathe clean air.
“This year on Kick Butts Day, we’re challenging policy makers at every level to do their part to reverse the youth e-cigarette epidemic and continue driving down youth tobacco use,” said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “We cannot allow e-cigarettes, especially Juul, to addict another generation and reverse the enormous progress we’ve made in reducing youth tobacco use.”