It’s time to kick butts

Young people are encouraged to join the thousands of kids across the country who are taking part in Kick Butts Day, a day of activism that empowers youth to stand out, speak up and seize control against Big Tobacco at more than 1,000 events across the United States and around the world.

Locally, as part of the Kick Butts Day celebration, Public Health, Delta & Menominee Counties has been providing presentations to students in area schools, including both Gladstone and Hannahville. The presentations focus on what Kick Butts Day is, the dangers of commercial tobacco abuse and what students can do to participate in the nationwide movement.

There are over 17,000 new youth smokers each year in Michigan, and 298,000 kids alive in Michigan today will eventually die from a tobacco-related disease. In 2010 the tobacco industry spent $253 million to market their products in Michigan, with nearly $8.5 billion spent on marketing expenditures nationwide. In comparison, Michigan spends only $1.8 million on tobacco prevention programming annually.

“The good news is that there are a number of evidence-based programs and policy changes, which are being implemented by local communities and the state tobacco program, that can help us reduce smoking rates,” noted Shanna Hammond, tobacco coordinator for PHDM. “24/7 tobacco-free schools, tobacco-free outdoor recreation areas, smoke-free multi-unit housing, and increasing access to tobacco dependence treatment options are all effective in reducing youth and adult tobacco use rates. In addition, at the state policy level, an increase in the price of cigarettes and other tobacco products would reap enormous health and economic benefits. States that raise the price of tobacco always experience reduced tobacco use and always see substantial revenue increases.”

Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in Michigan, killing more than 14,500 people each year. 23.3 percent of Michigan adults, and 14 percent of Michigan youth smoke cigarettes. Tobacco use costs the state $3.4 billion in health care costs annually.

For more information about the Kick Butts Day event and tobacco prevention contact Hammond at 789-8112. For help in quitting tobacco use, talk with your healthcare provider or contact the Michigan Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-784-8669. For information on the national initiative, visit the Kick Butts Day website at