Oklahoma Youth Encouraged to Stand Up to Big Tobacco on Kick Butts Day March 21
OKLAHOMA CITY — On March 21, 2018, Tobacco Stops With Me encourages Oklahomans to participate in Kick Butts Day, a national day of activism that empowers youth to stand out, speak up and seize control against Big Tobacco.
“Events across our state will provide a platform for Oklahoma youth to educate their peers, family and friends about Big Tobacco and their youth-focused marketing strategies,” said John Woods, executive director of the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET). “Our youth are the future of our state, and these grassroots events truly make a difference in educating young people.”
Tobacco use is still the leading cause of preventable death in Oklahoma, killing more than 7,500 people every year. Each year in Oklahoma, 2,100 kids become new daily smokers.
To combat youth from ever starting to use tobacco, TSET grantees partner with organizations across the state to hold events for Kick Butts Day. In Rattan, the TSET Healthy Living Program Grantee hosts an annual event with local youth from Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) action groups who work with community and coalition members to pick up cigarette butts in city parks.
“SWAT youth share the message each year to communicate the need to quit tobacco use,” said Dana Dunlap, TSET Healthy Living Program wellness coordinator. “I know the voice of youth carries a message clearly. These youth can help spread the message of the importance of being tobacco free – to their peers and their community.”
Although Oklahoma smoking rates have declined, tobacco companies still spend $163 million yearly to market tobacco products in Oklahoma, particularly to youth and young adults. Companies know that if kids are addicted to tobacco by age 18, they are likely to become lifelong smokers.
“I like being a part of events that matter, like Kick Butts Day,” said Logan Dunlap, an eleventh grader at Rattan High School. “I wish people would quit using tobacco, but if we can get them to quit for just one day then maybe they’ll believe they can quit for real someday.”
More information about youth tobacco prevention programs is available through the Oklahoma State Department of Health. Contact Chantel Hartman at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn about youth prevention opportunities, including Taking Down Tobacco, a free, comprehensive online training program from the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids and CVS that provides youth leaders and adult allies with the information and the skills necessary to help create the first tobacco-free generation.
A statewide campaign funded through the TSET, Tobacco Stops With Me provides tools and information to Oklahomans so they can choose to support healthier tobacco-free environments where they live, work, learn and play.
By educating the public about the negative effects and impact of tobacco, the goal of Tobacco Stops With Me is to prevent and reduce tobacco use, and improve the health and quality of life of every Oklahoman. Tobacco Stops With Me aims to inspire individuals to make positive changes — not only for their own health, but for the health of the entire state as well.
More information about how to make your life tobacco free is available at StopsWithMe.com. Oklahomans 14 and older can also learn more about the free cessation resources offered by the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline at OKhelpline.com.
The Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) serves as a partner and bridge builder for organizations working towards shaping a healthier future for all Oklahomans. TSET provides leadership at the intersections of health by working with local coalitions and initiatives across the state, by cultivating innovative and life-changing research, and by working across public and private sectors to develop, support, implement and evaluate creative strategies to take advantage of emerging opportunities to improve the public’s health. TSET – Better Lives Through Better Health. To learn more, go to tset.ok.gov.