National "Kick Butts Day" is Wednesday, March 15

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each day in the United States, more than 3,200 youth aged 18 years or younger smoke their first cigarette, and an additional 2,100 youth and young adults become daily cigarette smokers.

As more young people continue to embrace the “quit smoking” message, overall smoking rates continue to trend downwards throughout the United States and here in Louisiana. Per the 2016 America’s Health Rankings® Report from the United Health Foundation, Louisiana currently ranks 43 out of 50 states (up three spots from 46th). The national average is presently 17.5 percent (an improvement from 18.1 percent in 2015).

To counteract the numerous messages targeting young smokers, "Kick Butts Day" was started in 1996 as a day of activism to empower youth to stand out, speak up and seize control against Big Tobacco. It is organized by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. By hosting “kick butts” events around the country, including many here in Louisiana, they aim to explain the dangers of cigarettes to this young, vulnerable audience.

“Studies have shown that children are three times more likely to smoke if their parents smoke,” says Mike Rogers, Chief Executive Officer of SCT Management Services. “While we encourage all young people not to start smoking, and that includes e-cigarettes, or quit cigarettes if they’ve started, we also ask that they share the ‘kick butts’ empowerment message with their parents, grandparents and other older adults in their lives. Sometimes, hearing the ‘stop smoking’ plea from their children or grandchildren is just the right combination of love and concern that some adults need to help break their addiction to cigarettes.”

Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, imposing a terrible toll in health, lives and dollars on families, businesses and government. Tobacco kills 480,000 people annually – more than AIDS, alcohol, car accidents, illegal drugs, murders and suicides combined. Additionally, tobacco costs the U.S. approximately $170 billion in health care expenditures and $151 billion in lost productivity each year.

Through observances like Kick Butts Day and other annual smoking-related observances and events, and in addition to its work with Louisiana health care providers and hospital systems, the Trust continues to share its quit message with smokers around the state that quitting now is one of the best things they can do for their health.

For more information or to apply, visit the Smoking Cessation Trust’s website at; call locally at 504-529-5665 or toll-free at 855-259-6346. For a list of statewide smoking cessation providers, click here.

About Smoking Cessation Trust:

The Smoking Cessation Trust is the result of a court judgment in a 14-year-old class action lawsuit entitled Scott v. American Tobacco Company. The judgment became final in 2011 and ordered certain tobacco companies to fund a statewide, 10-year smoking cessation program to benefit more than 200,000 Louisiana smokers who are members of the plaintiff class (the "Scott Class"). The recipient of the award was a court-established and court-supervised smoking cessation program to benefit all Louisiana residents who smoked a cigarette before September 1, 1988. To date, the Trust has registered nearly 70,000 Louisiana smokers who have chosen to kick the cigarette habit.

Applicants who register for the new smoking cessation program and are approved (usually in one day) as qualified recipients will be eligible to receive any of the following cessation services completely free: cessation medications (such as Zyban® and Chantix®), nicotine replacement therapy (gum, patch, lozenge, inhaler, nasal spray), individual/ group cessation counseling, telephone quit-line support, and/or intensive cessation support services. By using these services, evidence suggests that participants will increase the success rate of attempts to stop smoking cigarettes, and may successfully quit—for good. 

Contributed Report