PUBLISHED: 5:28 PM on Wednesday, March 26, 2008
SEARHC tobacco program celebrates Kick Butts Day
JUNEAU - Have you lost a family member or friend to health problems caused by tobacco use?

Then join with the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) Tobacco Program and Teens Against Tobacco Use (TATU) as they host a memorial wall to honor those people lost to tobacco.

The memorial wall is part of Kick Butts Day, and the wall will be located from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 2, at the Dimond Courthouse outdoor courtyard, 123 Fourth St., right across from the Alaska State Capitol.

Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, killing 1,200 people per day in the U.S. alone (the equivalent of three jumbo jet crashes a day). The memorial wall will help put a human face on this staggering death toll.

The public is invited to go to (in advance of Kick Butts Day) to submit names, photos, poems and other memorial items that will be placed on or near the memorial wall. There also will be an informational table with cards, so passers-by can fill out and add their cards to the wall during the event.

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," SEARHC Tobacco Educator Rowena J. Reeves said. "Many of our youth believe they can smoke and quit whenever they choose. But many people who do try tobacco become addicted and find it very difficult to stop."

For more information, contact Rowena Reeves at 364-4440 or TATU Coordinator Jackie Wagner at 463-3755. For more information about tobacco's toll on Alaska, go to