Press Releases

Kids Kick Tobacco's Influence During 10th Annual Kick Butts Day


For immediate release
Media Contact:
Jason Melancon, TFL
504.301.9841 or jmelancon@lphi.org

Amy B. Ferguson, Keating Magee
504.299.7175 or amyf@keatingmagee.com

KIDS KICK TOBACCO’S INFLUENCE DURING 10TH ANNUAL KICK BUTTS DAY

Red wristbands remind children and families of those affected by tobacco-related diseases.

Alexandria, LA, April 11, 2005 – At the end of the day on Wednesday, April 13, 2005, as many as 1,000 area middle schoolers could spill out of buses, carpools and after-school activities sporting red wristbands. But that isn’t as many people as they will honor. As a part of Kick Butts Day events co-sponsored by the Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living (TFL) at five Rapides Parish middle schools, the wristbands commemorate the 1,200 people who die each day from tobacco-related diseases. Kick Butts Day, now in its 10th year nationwide, is a youth empowerment event organized by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

Rapides Parish Kick Butts Day activities include 30-minute assemblies at each school featuring interactive demonstrations from Central LA AHEC and testimonials from cancer survivors. Each student who participates will receive a red “1200” wristband. Students will be encouraged to wear the wristband to remember a loved one, support someone who is trying to quit using tobacco, or take action against tobacco companies’ targeting of youth.

“We want students to understand the importance of their choices,” says Monette Fontenot, Alexandria area regional coordinator for TFL. “The tobacco companies have to target them to replace smokers and nonsmokers who die from tobacco-related diseases. And at this age, trying something daring like cigarettes is very tempting. We are trying to arm them to make good choices.” The assemblies, put together by the Alexandria Region Cancer Control Coalition, are also designed to motivate and rally support for smoke-free policies at each school.

Tobacco companies need to recruit 19.4 young smokers each day in Louisiana to replace those who die annually from tobacco-related diseases. But the smokers are not the only ones affected. “We know that children exposed to secondhand smoke are more likely to suffer from asthma, and will have more ear infections, bronchitis and pneumonia. Our efforts will also try to educate families about the dangers of exposing children to secondhand smoke,” says Fontenot.

The Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living provides statewide coordination of existing tobacco control initiatives, funds innovative community programming for tobacco control, and develops statewide media campaigns to help reduce the excessive burden of tobacco use on the state’s resources and improve Louisiana’s overall health and quality of life.

Tobacco Fact: On average, children under 11 who are exposed to secondhand smoke have more than twice the level of metabolized nicotine in their blood as nonsmoking adults.