National Kick Butts Day is Wednesday, March 21

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

While Kick Butts Day is targeted to youth and young adult smokers, everyone in the community, including parents, grandparents, and elected officials, should stand with these young people as they take a stand against Big Tobacco.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each day in the United States, more than 3,000 youth aged 18 years or younger smoke their first cigarette, and an additional 700 youth and young adults become daily cigarette smokers.

While the numbers are trending downwards for overall smoking rates, young people continue to be lured to smoking via a variety of slick marketing tools, such as creating a “cool factor” around high-tech versions of e-cigarettes—complete with flavored liquid cartridges; splashy ads in youth-focused publications; and discounts at smoke shops that make tobacco products affordable to young smokers. All of this is designed to entice young smokers and to make them feel like they’re somehow “safely” smoking.

Children are three times more likely to smoke if a parent or guardian smokes,” says Mike Rogers, Chief Executive Officer of SCT Management Services. “While we encourage all young people not to start smoking, 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 Louisiana $1.89 billion in health care expenditures and $2.49 billion in lost productivity annually.

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 those here in Louisiana, they aim to explain the dangers of cigarettes to this young, vulnerable audience.

Through observances like Kick Butts Day and other annual smoking-related observances and events, and in addition to its work with numerous Louisiana health care providers and hospital systems, the Smoking Cessation Trust has reached nearly 85,000 Louisianans with the message that quitting now is one of the best things they can do for their health, their families and their wallets.

For more information or to apply for the free products and services provided by the Trust, visit; call locally at 504-529-5665 or toll-free at 855-259-6346. For a list of statewide smoking cessation providers, click here.

Contributed by Smoking Cessation Trust