KICK THOSE BUTTS — West Valley Central School’s Kick Butts Day took place on March 19, to encourage students to quit smoking. From left: Callie McRae and Sarah Lechowski.
WEST VALLEY — Local youth from West Valley joined youth from around the country to stand up and speak out against tobacco corporations on Kick Butts Day, March 19.
This year, West Valley Central School’s Reality Check created a display that focused on the fact that, each day, 62 New York state youth become new daily smokers.
The 2014 Surgeon General Report concluded that promotional activities by the tobacco companies cause the onset and continuation of smoking, among adolescents and young adults.
Each year in the United States, 12,900 kids younger than 18 become new daily smokers. According to the 2014 Surgeon General report, if current smoking rates continue, 5.6 million Americans younger than 18 who are alive today are projected to die prematurely from smoking-related disease.
Every adult who dies early because of smoking is replaced by two new, young smokers, one of whom also will die early from smoking, according to that same report.
“Smoking kills and we’ve got to protect youth from the cause,” said Jonathan Chaffee, Reality Check program coordinator. “Youth think smoking is OK, since they see tobacco marketing every day in stores that we go to, but we want to change that.”
To follow up with the display, a STOMP event was held the night of March 19. A STOMP is a movie event, in which the attendees stomp their feet every time there is smoking or tobacco products in a movie.
The purpose is to get youth and adults to realize how much smoking is in youth-rated films. The group chose to watch “Rango,” which has the most smoking scenes in an animated movie since “101 Dalmatians” in 1961.
“Smoking in youth-rated films encourages kids to smoke,” said senior Ken Dash. “Tobacco is an addictive, deadly product. Why show it in a movie made for kids to watch?”
For more information about the effects of tobacco marketing at the point of sale, visit www.seenenoughtobacco.org.