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Florida Department Of Health Recognizes 'Kick Butts Day'

Armen Hareyan's picture

Smoking Prevention

The Florida Department of Health (DOH) supports Kick Butts Day (KBD) on Wednesday, March 28, 2007. This twelfth-annual celebration sponsored by the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids focuses on youth advocacy, leadership and activism. This day is an important opportunity for raising awareness about the tobacco problem and supporting strong tobacco prevention policies.

Thousands of teen anti-tobacco advocates will educate their peers about deceptive tobacco industry practices across the country on Kick Butts Day. In Florida, Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) chapters from across the state will be hosting events to inform others of the dangers of tobacco and its toll on society. Tobacco claims the lives of 88 Floridians and 1,200 Americans daily. In addition, SWAT youth will educate their peers and the general public on candy-flavored cigarettes like Camel Kauai Kolada and Kool Midnight Berry. These "candies" are marketed to youth and contain Plutonium 210 and bi-products that are also found in mothballs and rat poison.

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According to the 2006 Florida Youth Tobacco Survey (FYTS), middle school smoking has declined 64.3 percent and high school smoking declined 43.4 percent since 1998. In the week prior to completing the survey, results showed 64.1 percent of high school and 56.3 percent of middle school students were exposed to secondhand smoke. Most of the students were exposed to secondhand smoke in their parents' home.

Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death and disease in our society. It is recognized as a cause of lung and other cancers, heart disease, complications during pregnancy, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and other diseases. Tobacco use is responsible for 420,000 deaths per year among adults and direct medical costs in Florida are more than 85 billion dollars per year. Every day, nearly 4,000 children in the U.S. try cigarettes for the first time. The Department of Health's long-term strategy is to prevent persons, especially youth, from starting this unhealthy behavior.

Kick Butts Day is an annual celebration of youth leadership in the fight against tobacco. SWAT is a youth-led anti-tobacco advocacy group created as part of the Florida Pilot Program, which began after Florida's 1997 landmark lawsuit against the tobacco industry.