Kick Butts Day is March 20. Each year the tobacco-free day helps increase awareness about the problem of tobacco use. 1,200 people die every day in the United States because of tobacco. That is more than three Boeing 747 airplanes crashing every day!
Support a healthier community around you and join in the effort to Kick Butts. Share your efforts on social media using #iKickButts. Together, we can all make our community a healthier place where we live, learn, work and play.
Tobacco use in New York State is still a big problem. It is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in New York State, killing 28,200 individuals every year.
- The average age of a new smoker in New York State is 13 years old. In fact, a U.S. Surgeon General report calls smoking among youth a pediatric epidemic.
- 90 percent of adult smokers say they first tried smoking by age 18.
The U.S. Surgeon General concluded that advertising and promotional activities by tobacco companies have been shown to cause the onset and continuation of smoking among adolescents and young adults.
- Tobacco companies spend a half million dollars every day aggressively marketing tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, in stores throughout New York State with colorful walls of tobacco products, special discounts and other marketing materials – all of which is highly appealing to youth. Tobacco marketing displays in stores give youth the impression that tobacco products are easily accessible and tobacco use is acceptable.
- A number of New York communities have already made changes to protect youth from tobacco marketing. Research shows by reducing the amount of tobacco marketing that our children see in stores, fewer youth start smoking.
E-cigarettes are addicting large numbers of kids to nicotine and studies show youth who use e-cigarettes are more likely to start smoking traditional cigarettes, including kids who never would have smokes at all. E-cigarettes are setting kids up to become a new generation addicted to nicotine.
- The high school smoking rate in New York state is the lowest it’s ever been – 4.3 percent in 2016; however, e-cigarette use doubled among high school students from 2014-2016, from 10 to 20 percent.
- The FDA says teen e-cigarette use has reached an epidemic proportion. In fact, among high school students in the U.S., e-cigarette use grew 900 percent from 2011-2015.
- Nicotine levels in most e-cigarettes are higher than in cigarettes. Kids are easily addicted to nicotine and the developing adolescent brain is particularly vulnerable to addiction.
- Tobacco companies have aggressively marketed their products to kids and lied about it for decades and e-cigarette companies have taken a page out of their playbook. That’s why the FDA has been investigating sales to minors. They’re using the same extreme marketing tactics in stores throughout our community. E-cigarette products are flavored like food and candy that kids love.
For those looking to quit or encourage a friend or relative to become tobacco-free, there is a variety of resources available:
- Talk to your own doctor or primary care provider
- Contact the NYS Smokers’ Quitline at 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8497) or nysmokefree.com
- Contact hospitals/clinics about local cessation programs
- Try Truth Initiative’s digital quit-smoking programs This is Quitting and BecomeAnEX, developed in collaboration with the Mayo Clinic.
- Connect with Truth Initiative’s new, free e-cigarette quit text program for teens and young adults. Users can text “QUIT” to (202) 804-9884 to leave JUUL or other e-cigarettes.