Story last updated at 3/18/2009 - 8:56 pm
JUNEAU - The 14th annual Kick Butts Day is Wednesday, March 25, and the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) Tobacco Program in Juneau and Sitka will host informational displays to spread the word about the dangers of youth smoking.
Kick Butts Day is a national day of activism that empowers youth to speak up and take action against tobacco use at more than 2,000 events across the nation. These events are designed to get tobacco users to think about quitting, and to help youth make the decision not to start using tobacco.
"My hope is we reach young people before they start smoking, because cigarettes are designed to be more addictive than ever before," said SEARHC Tobacco Health Educator Rowena J. Reeves.
About 90 percent of all adult smokers started smoking when they were in their teens or earlier. More than 20 percent of U.S. high school students smoke when they leave high school, and one in 10 middle school students smoke. Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S., killing 1,200 Americans per day.
In Juneau, the SEARHC Tobacco Program is teaming up with the Juneau chapter of Teens Against Tobacco Use (TATU), which is sponsored by the National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence (NCADD). TATU hosts a memorial wall to honor those people lost to tobacco. The wall will be at the Nugget Mall on Saturday and Sunday, March 21-22, and Reeves will staff the booth from noon to 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 22. Informational displays about tobacco's dangers and how to quit smoking also will be posted at the SEARHC Ethel Lund Medical Center in Juneau on Kick Butts Day, March 25.
In Sitka, the SEARHC Tobacco Program and Sitka Community Hospital are teaming up on Kick Butts Day to post informational displays at both the SEARHC Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital and Sitka Community Hospital. There also will be a display near the four-way stop (where Halibut Point Road and Sawmill Creek Road intersect with Lake Street) to show how many Americans die each day from tobacco-related illnesses.
To learn more about Kick Butts Day visit kickbuttsday.org/ For more information on the SEARHC Tobacco Program's activities on Kick Butts Day, contact Rowena Reeves in Juneau at 364-4440 or Glade Morales in Sitka at 966-8745.