Local students to celebrate Kick Butts Day - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Local students to celebrate Kick Butts Day


Princeton, WV (WVVA) -  Kick Butts Day, held annually since 1995, is a day of activism that empowers youth to "Stand Out, Speak up, and Seize Control" against big tobacco at more than 1,000 events across the United States and around the globe. Students at PikeView High School – particularly the RAZE Crew and SADD Chapter – are hosting their event on the south facing steps of the Mercer County Courthouse on Thursday, March 26, at 1:00 P.M. A press event will begin at approximately 1:00 P.M., and the community is encouraged to attend.

The students will be conducting various ‘commotions' as they seek to educate the public on the harmful effects of tobacco. Over 40 students will be in attendance.

Tobacco use continues to take its toll on West Virginia youth. 19.1% of high school students smoke. In the Mountain State, 2,300 kids (under 18) become daily smokers each year, and 4.5 million packs of cigarettes are bought or smoked by kids each year. If statistical trends hold true, over 46,000 youth in West Virginia will ultimately die prematurely from smoking.

Annually in West Virginia, $1.8 Billion in health care costs can be associated to detriments of smoking. Smoking-related illnesses annually cost West Virginia $1,865 per smoker in excess medical expenses. An average of 73 of our friends, co-workers and neighbors die every week in West Virginia due to smoking.

PikeView High School has partnered with the Southern Coalfields Tobacco Prevention Network and the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids. Jennifer L. Farmer, director of the Network, noted the importance of such events. Farmer stated, “While the official ‘Kick Butts Day' was recognized on March 18th, these students are still excited to continue this annual event a week later. Scheduling conflicts, due to the harsh winter weather in February, may have cooled things down but these students are ready to heat things up by standing up to the tobacco industry and raise awareness on Big Tobacco's manipulative marketing techniques to target kids as “replacement smokers”.” Replacement smokers are needed for the more than 480,000 people their products kill each year in the United States. Students will have the opportunity to fill in a sign where he/she can complete the following statement: “I am not a replacement. I am ___.” The students will have an opportunity to take a selfie and share it on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with the #NotAReplacement hashtag.

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About RAZE

RAZE is a statewide youth anti-tobacco movement that exposes Big Tobacco's marketing schemes to get teens hooked on cigarettes and spit tobacco. The goal of RAZE is to reduce tobacco use among teens.

About SADD

SADD, Students Against Destructive Decisions, is a nationwide effort to encourage students to live healthy, happy lifestyles while alleviating underage drinking, other drug use (including tobacco), impaired driving, youth violence, and youth mental health issues.

About the Southern Coalfields Tobacco Prevention Network

An initiative of Community Connections, Inc., the Network supports tobacco prevention, education, and cessation efforts throughout southern West Virginia – particular in McDowell, Mercer, Monroe, Raleigh, Summers, and Wyoming counties.

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