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PUBLISHED: 4:06 PM on Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Tobacco program celebrates Kick Butts Day
Children from Juneau will join thousands of young people in a nationwide rally against tobacco Wednesday, March 28, in celebration of the 12th annual Kick Butts Day. More than 2,000 events are scheduled around the country for Kick Butts Day, a national event sponsored by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

In Juneau, the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium Tobacco Program will hold an educational booth all week at the Gold Medal Basketball Tournament, which takes place at Juneau-Douglas High School. SEARHC Tobacco Health Educator Rowena Reeves will staff the booth from 2-6 p.m. on Wednesday and at various other times during the week. Several other SEARHC Health Promotion programs also will have booths at Gold Medal.

At her booth, Reeves will be passing out fliers that feature quotes from tobacco industry representatives explaining how they target kids in their marketing.

She also will have information on the more than 4,000 chemicals found in cigarette smoke, including at least 69 chemicals that have been proven to cause cancer (such as arsenic, formaldehyde and polonium 210). Reeves will give away Kick Butts Day wristbands, too.

"My hope is we reach young people before they start smoking, because cigarettes are designed to be more addictive than ever before," Reeves said. "Many of our youth believe they can smoke and quit whenever they choose. But people who do try it become addicted and find it very difficult to stop."

One of the main goals of Kick Butts Day is to inform people about the chemicals contained in cigarette smoke and the harm they cause. A national poll conducted earlier this month by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids found that 71 percent of adults and 79 percent of teens could not name any of the chemicals found in cigarette smoke besides tar and nicotine. In addition to the 69 cancer-causing chemicals, there are scores of additional toxic ingredients (such as ammonia) that cause lung and other health problems. Another goal of Kick Butts Day is urge Congress to pass legislation that restricts tobacco marketing and sales to kids.

For more information on the SEARHC Tobacco Program, contact Rowena Reeves at 364-4440 or by e-mail at rowena.reeves@searhc.org. For more information about tobacco's toll on Alaska, go to http://www.tobaccofreekids.org/reports/settlements/toll.php?StateID=AK.


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