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Kick Butts Day Empowers Martin County Youth to Expose Tobacco Industry
National Day of Activism Encourages Teachers, Youth Leaders and Health Advocates to Fight Back and Speak Out Against the Problem of Tobacco

March 19, 2018

STUART, Fla. – Martin County’s Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) are fighting back against the tobacco industry for the 23rd annual Kick Butts Day on March 21, 2018. This national day of activism, sponsored by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, encourages youth to reject the tobacco industry's deceptive marketing and stay tobacco free. 

SWAT’s theme this year is “Inform, Expose, and Kick Butts!”The student-led organization is focused on educating Florida youth about Big Tobacco’s lies, and the $558.8 million spent each year in Florida alone to aggressively market their harmful products to vulnerable populations, including youth.(1) Each day in the United States, more than 3,200 youth aged 18 years or younger smoke their first cigarette, and an additional 2,100 youth and young adults become daily cigarette smokers. (2)

In Martin County, SWAT Clubs are actively engaging youth in remaining tobacco free at all five public middle schools, South Fork High School, Martin County High School, Jensen Beach High School, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Martin County and the YMCA of the Treasure Coast.


Murray Middle School SWAT Club creates displays to raise awareness for Kick Butts Day

“I’ve learned through the SWAT program that tobacco companies target and spend millions of dollars to advertise toward youth,” said Logan Jacobs, 11, SWAT Member at Murray Middle School. “Every cigarette you smoke decreases your life span, and I believe children and young adults today are too valuable to buy into ‘Big Tobacco’ and their lies.”

About 90 percent of smokers start before they turn 18 and rarely consider the long-term health consequences of smoking.(3) Because of nicotine, the highly addictive drug found in tobacco, three out of four youth smokers continue smoking well into adulthood, often with deadly consequences.(4) In fact, about half of long-term smokers die prematurely from smoking-related causes.(5)

According to the Surgeon General, if smoking continues at the current rate among youth in the United States, 5.6 million of today’s Americans younger than 18 will die early from a smoking-related illness. That’s about one of every 13 Americans aged 17 years or younger alive today.(6)

As new and emerging tobacco products become more popular, especially among our youth(7), Tobacco Free Florida is committed to educating youth about the dangers of tobacco and the importance of prevention. SWAT aims to empower, educate and equip Florida youth to revolt against Big Tobacco. SWAT is a movement of youth working together to de-glamorize tobacco use. Their efforts aim to shape tobacco free norms, make tobacco less desirable, less acceptable and less accessible. For more information or to get involved, visit swatflorida.com.


About the Florida Department of Health
The department, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts. Follow us on Twitter at @HealthyFla and on Facebook. For more information about the Florida Department of Health please visit www.FloridaHealth.gov.

About Tobacco Free Florida
The department’s Tobacco Free Florida campaign is a statewide cessation and prevention campaign funded by Florida’s tobacco settlement fund. Since the program began in 2007, more than 188,000 Floridians have successfully quit using one of Tobacco Free Florida's free tools and services. There are now approximately 451,000 fewer adult smokers in Florida than there was 10 years ago, and the state has saved $17.7 billion in health care costs.[viii] To learn more about Tobacco Free Florida’s Quit Your Way services, visit www.tobaccofreeflorida.com or follow the campaign on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TobaccoFreeFlorida or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/tobaccofreefla.

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References: 

(1) Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Cigarette Report for 2015, 2017, See also, FTC, Smokeless Tobacco Report for 2015, 2017. State total is a prorated estimate based on cigarette pack sales in the state.

(2) U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking —50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2014.

(3) U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking —50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2014.

(4) U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking —50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2014.

(5) U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2012.

(6) U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking —50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2014.

(7) Florida Youth Tobacco Survey (FYTS), Florida Department of Health, Bureau of Epidemiology, 2016.

(8) Mann, Nathan M, Nonnemaker, James M., Thompson, Jesse. "Smoking-Attributable Health Care Costs in Florida and Potential Health Care Cost Savings Associated with Reductions in Adult Smoking Prevalence." 2016.