Kick Butts Day began in 1996 to help youth be strong, stand up, speak out and take control against “Big Tobacco.” Teachers, youth leaders and health workers plan events to raise awareness of the tobacco use problem in their state or community. This day is to help youth to reject the tobacco industry’s marketing plan and be tobacco-free. It’s also used to urge community leaders to take action to protect youth from tobacco.
While there have been many years of decreasing cigarette use among young people, there’s great concern with other tobacco products such as e-cigarettes. The U.S. Surgeon General recently said e-cigarette use is an epidemic. According to the most recent Nevada Youth Risk Behavior Survey, almost one in six of our middle school students in Carson and Douglas admit to trying e-cigarettes. In our high schools, one in two teens has tried a form of e-cigarette and one in five use e-cigarettes regularly. This electronic usage is a large concern because these rates reverse the progress we have made and show we have a new generation of nicotine users.
Tobacco companies and e-cigarette producers market their product to our youth. Tobacco companies spend approximately $1 million per hour in marketing and incentives. The impact of this marketing is seen in the alarming increase of e-cigarette use in youth and young adults. This is of concern because most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which can harm the young developing brain. Nicotine changes the brain causing problems with addiction, attention, learning and impulse control.
Tobacco companies’ market candy or fruit flavored e-cigarettes and cigars to our children. Studies show that flavors play a major role in youth use of tobacco. These sweet products have increased the popularity of e-cigarettes and cigars among youth. Many recent studies show e-cigarettes are harmful and the vapor from the e-cigarettes contains not only water vapor and nicotine but metal, particles, and cancer-causing chemicals.
Our youth are our future. We must provide the education and resources to give our youth and young adults the power to make informed decisions. We can’t rely on an industry that profits from sales of these products to provide this education. Let us make March 20 our day to Kick Butt. If you want to quit using tobacco, call the Nevada Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-QUITNOW or check out Freedom from Smoking classes at Carson Tahoe Health. There are smoke-free apps available at smokefree.gov. Additionally, staff from the Tobacco Prevention and Control program at Carson City Health and Human Services is available to provide tobacco presentations to our youth. You can contact program staff at 775-887-2190.
For information about services and programs available to you through Carson City Health and Human Services, please visit our website at gethealthycarsoncity.org, follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cchhs, or call us at 775-887-2190. You can also find us at 900 E. Long St. in Carson City.