(March 20, 2012) Young people from SAFE in Northern Michigan are joining thousands of kids across the country who are taking part in Kick Butts Day, a nationwide initiative that helps kids become leaders in the effort to stop youth tobacco use. As part of the Kick Butts Day celebration, local high school students are launching a public service announcement (PSA) that will be shown throughout Charlevoix and Emmet counties.
“The tobacco companies make smoking look cool in their ads, but that's nothing but a lie,” said Lexie Harding, a senior at Boyne City High School who helped write and produce the PSA. “There's nothing cool about bad breath, smelly clothes, and tobacco-stained teeth.” Students from Boyne City, Charlevoix, East Jordan, Harbor Springs, Pellston, and Petoskey worked together to create the PSA. Boyne City High School students recruited their chemistry teacher, Andy Bryant, to help them create the message about the harmful chemicals that are found in cigarettes. Their message is clear: “Is this really what you want to put in your body?”
“Kids are a powerful part of the solution to reducing youth tobacco use,” said Lynne DeMoor, who coordinates the Tobacco Reduction Coalition of Northwest Michigan and assisted SAFE Youth with the Kick Butts Day project. “For Kick Butts Day 2012, kids are sending two important messages: they want the tobacco industry to stop targeting them with advertising and they want elected leaders at all levels to do more to protect them from tobacco.”
Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States, killing more than 400,000 people every year. Every day, more than 4,000 kids try their first cigarette; another 1,000 kids become addicted smokers, one-third of whom will die prematurely as a result.
“Strong tobacco-free policies, adequate funding for tobacco prevention programming, raising tobacco taxes, and providing resources to those who want to quit are proven methods for reducing the health and economic burden of tobacco use,” said DeMoor. “Kick Butts Day is an opportunity for our elected leaders to hear directly from young people on the support in place for these important opportunities to do more to protect kids.”
The Health Department of Northwest Michigan is mandated by the Michigan Public Health Code to promote wellness, prevent disease, provide quality healthcare, address health problems of vulnerable populations, and protect the environment for the residents and visitors of Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Otsego counties. For more information about the Kick Butts Day event and tobacco prevention in the community, contact DeMoor at the Health Department at 347-4640. For help in quitting tobacco use, talk with your healthcare provider or contact the Michigan Tobacco Quitline at 800-784-8669. For information on the national initiative, visit the Kick Butts Day website at www.kickbuttsday.org.