The Glasgow Courier - Serving Proudly As The Voice Of Valley County Since 1913

By Brittany Archambeault
Valley County Health Dept. 

Montana Kids to 'Kick Butts' on March 21

Glasgow Middle and High Schools To Participate

 

March 21, 2018



Students at the middle and high school in Glasgow are gearing up to raise awareness about the dangers of tobacco use as part of Kick Butts Day on Wednesday, March 21. Kick Butts Day is an annual day of youth activism and leadership against tobacco use, sponsored by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. Thousands of events are taking place across the country to stand up to corporate tobacco companies, which target youth as “replacement smokers” as their current customers quit or die.

This year, Kick Butts Day is focusing attention on the progress the U.S. has made in reducing youth smoking and the actions needed to create the first tobacco-free generation. Since 2000, the national smoking rate among high school students has fallen by 71 percent (from 28 percent in 2000 to 8 percent in 2016). However, the fight against tobacco is far from over.

*Nationwide, tobacco companies spend $8.9 billion a year, over one million dollars every hour, to market tobacco products. In Montana alone, tobacco companies spend $28.9 million annually on marketing efforts, often in ways that appeal to kids.

*Tobacco use is still the number one cause of preventable death in the U.S., killing over 480,000 people and costing about $170 billion in health care expenses each year (1,600 lives and $440 million in health care bills in Montana.)

*E-cigarettes have become the most popular tobacco product used by kids. Nationwide, 11.3 percent of high school students use e-cigarettes compared to eight percent who smoke cigarettes. The latest trend with teens is JUUL, an e-cigarette that looks like a computer flash drive and comes in flavors like mango and fruit medley. The fact that 13.1 percent of Montana high school students smoke cigarettes and 29.5 percent are e-cigarette users proves that Big Tobacco’s marketing strategies are effectively reaching youth under 18.

As a means of counteracting these statistics, reACT was formed under the guidance of the Montana Tobacco Use Prevention Program as a teen-led movement against Big Tobacco.

On Kick Butts Day, kids and health advocates are calling on elected officials to implement proven strategies that make up a “roadmap to a tobacco-free generation.” These strategies include tobacco tax increases, comprehensive smoke-free laws, raising the tobacco sale age to 21, well-funded tobacco prevention programs and banning the sale of flavored tobacco products.

“On Kick Butts Day, kids are celebrating the progress we’ve made to reduce tobacco use and building momentum to get us across the finish line,” said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “Elected leaders in every state can help create the first tobacco-free generation by supporting proven strategies to prevent youth tobacco use.”

Valley County reACT members will be contributing to national tobacco use prevention efforts this Wednesday by hanging a “Be The First” pledge banner during lunch at both the Middle and Glasgow High School, encouraging their peers to sign it as part of their mission to become the first tobacco-free generation.

For more information about Kick Butts Day or Valley County reACT, contact Brittany Archambeault, TPS, at (406) 228-6261 or barchambeault@valleycountymt.gov.

 

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