From Press Reports
March 16 was Kick Butts Day, a national day of activism encouraging youth to educate their peers and communities on the harmful effects of tobacco use and the negative influence of the tobacco industry.
As part of this year’s Kick Butts Day celebration, the Mississippi Tobacco-Free Coalition of
Choctaw, Montgomery and Webster County worked with students at East Webster High School and Winona Secondary School to help empower youth to speak up and take action.
Mississippi youth had the opportunity to participate in a statewide Kick Butts activity by placing plastic cups through the holes of their school fences to spell out the message “Put It Out” to speak out against the influence of tobacco products. Mandy Jewell’s PE class at EWHS participated in the activity on March 9.
“Kick Butts Day is an opportunity for participating youth to become leaders in their communities and among their peers by speaking out against any form of tobacco products. Kick Butts Day may only come once a year, but our hope is that every day will be Kick Butts Day in the fight against tobacco,” said Keetha Mosley, director of Mississippi Tobacco-Free Coalition of Choctaw, Montgomery and Webster County.
According to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, 68,000 Mississippi children now under the age of 18 will ultimately die prematurely from smoking. Through local Mississippi Tobacco-Free Coalitions, young activists take part in a variety of tobacco prevention activities throughout the school year, including working with elected leaders to develop policies that reduce youth tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke, and educating their peers about the risks of tobacco use.
“Mississippi’s youth play a critical role in helping to reduce adolescent tobacco use in our state,” said Amy Winter, director of the Mississippi State Department of Health Office of Tobacco Control. “Whether it’s through educating peers face to face or by sharing messages through social media, research shows us that teens listen to other teens – the people they trust and look up to. Their influence is vital to increasing the awareness of tobacco use in their community and urging elected leaders to do more to protect them from tobacco companies.”
The goal of the Mississippi Tobacco-Free Coalition of Choctaw, Montgomery and Webster County is to educate Mississippi youth about the impacts of tobacco so they will be ready to share this information with their peers and communities on Kick Butts Day and beyond.
For more information about tobacco cessation information, call 662-283-9838, visit www.tobaccofreems.org or follow MSTobaccoFree on Facebook.