Tuesday, August 4, 2020



Central Louisiana schools participate in Kick Butts Day
Tammy Moreau and Kathy Gunn

Central Louisiana schools participate in Kick Butts Day

Activities mobilize students to raise awareness about the problems of tobacco use

Students from throughout Central Louisiana held activities to recognize Kick Butts Day, a nationally recognized day that empowers young people to stand out, speak up and take control against Big Tobacco.

These student-led, high impact events are held with Healthy Behaviors School Partnership Grant funding provided under The Rapides Foundation’s Healthy Behaviors Initiative, and give Cenla students the opportunity to join the national day of activism presented by Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

On Kick Butts Day, celebrated each year during March, thousands of young people across the country hold events and activities that call attention to the problems caused by Big Tobacco and its attempts to market to youth. The events are intended to mobilize students to raise awareness about the problems of tobacco use in their schools and communities.

 The Rapides Foundation’s Healthy Behaviors Initiative supports Kick Butts Day activities because of their proven effectiveness. "Educating young people about the dangers of tobacco is an important part of our initiative," said Joe Rosier, president and chief executive officer of The Rapides Foundation. "Statistics show that 90 percent of adult smokers begin while in their teens or earlier, and two-thirds become regular, daily smokers before they reach the age of 19.”

Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States, killing more than 480,000 people every year. Every day, more than 3,000 kids under 18 try smoking for the first time and 700 kids become new regular, daily smokers. Findings from the 2013 Louisiana Youth Risk Behavior Survey show that nearly half (48.6 percent) of Central Louisiana high school students have tried smoking cigarettes, with 15.2 percent reporting they smoked their first cigarette before they were 13 years old.

Central Louisiana school districts participating in Kick Butts Day 2016 events include Allen, Avoyelles, Catahoula, Grant, Natchitoches, Rapides and Vernon.

Schools choose Kick Butts Day activities based on age ranges of the participants and time constraints. The activities are designed to raise awareness of tobacco problems in communities, encourage young people to reject the tobacco industry’s deceptive marketing and stay tobacco-free, and to urge elected officials to take action to protect kids from tobacco. To connect with others involved in the national movement, Central Louisiana school students are making Tweets and posting photos to Instagram under the hashtag #iKickButts.

Students will take part in a wide variety of activities, with many schools choosing multiple activities on Kick Butts Day. Some of these activities include: 

Tombstones: Students display a Tombstone Graveyard with facts about the dangers of tobacco on each tombstone. This display shows the deadly consequences of tobacco use and the tactics used by the tobacco industry to market their products.

Graffiti Walls: Students write about Big Tobacco’s lies and manipulation, and also pledge to stay tobacco-free. 

Not a Replacement: Students take selfies with signs reading “I am NOT a Replacement, I am an Advocate.” Students use these “selfie-statements” to tell Big Tobacco they are more than a replacement for the 1,200 American customers Big Tobacco loses daily to tobacco related illnesses.

Cups in a Fence: Students use cups to erect a large anti-tobacco display on their school grounds. This powerful display shows the entire community about the deadly consequences of tobacco use.

Blackout: Students are randomly selected to wear black T-shirts throughout the day to represent the number of deaths as a result of smoking.

Chalk the Walks: Students write tobacco facts on sidewalks to raise awareness of the deadly consequences of tobacco use.

Jump on Butts: Students jump rope to show they are against tobacco by pretending to jump on cigarette butts.

Airing out Tobacco’s Dirty Laundry: Students will construct a clothesline of clothing with tobacco facts. The clotheslines will be in school hallways and baseball fields, reaching students, faculty and entire communities.

1-800-QUIT-NOW: Students hand out educational information with the toll-free state quitline number.

Pep rallies and presentations: Entire student bodies will gather for a variety of presentations, assemblies and poster contests, all designed to raise awareness of the deadly consequences of tobacco use and the deceptive tactics that Big Tobacco uses to market their products to young people.

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