Teenage anti-smoking activists in Nebraska are spreading the word today about how smoking kills as part of the 14th annual Kick Butts Day. Danny McGoldrick, vice president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, says the young Nebraskans are finding all sorts of creative ways to relay their message.
Across Nebraska today, kids are holding carnivals, trivia games, information sessions and even mock funerals for the Marlboro man. Some students planned to set up mock-cemeteries with two-thousand tombstones and crosses, representing the number of Nebraskans who die every year from tobacco-related diseases.
McGoldrick says today’s events are part of a national effort to support solutions proven to reduce youth smoking, including funding smoking prevention programs, increasing cigarette taxes and smoke-free air laws. He says, “About two-thousand Nebraska kids become regular daily smokers every year and the tobacco companies see those as replacement smokers for the two-thousand Nebraska residents who die a premature death from tobacco every year.”
He says tobacco companies are still spending 13-billion dollars a year on marketing, much of that directed at kids. Nationwide, he says studies find one person dies every 72-seconds from tobacco use and the tobacco industry addicts more than one-thousand youth every day. He says almost 90-percent of adults who are or were smokers say they started smoking by the time they were 18.
McGoldrick encourages people to visit the group’s website “tobaccofreekids.org” and learn more about Kick Butts Day and learn how to take action in Iowa and in Washington D-C. He says the F-D-A needs more power to regulate tobacco products, which he says kill 400-thousand people a year.