Encouraging Our Kids to Kick Butts this Marchby Carissa Andrews - March 9th, 2015
No, we’re not talking preparing kids for the inevitable Walking Dead apocalypse, but it is something equally deadly and not at all fictitious. National Kick Butts Day is March 18th, 2015 – and is a way to help teach kids about the deadly consequences of tobacco use. Every day, over 3,500 kids try tobacco for the first time and of those 1,000 will become repeat customers. That’s a frightening statistic when you consider nearly 500,000 people die each year from a tobacco related death.
When I was a kid, I grew up in a household of smokers. While you’d think that it would have been easy for me to take up the habit, their obsessive use actually had the opposite effect on me. I hated it. I hated being around when my parents smoked, or when they had guests over that would make our home smell like the bottom of an ashtray. My eyes would water, and my sinuses burn. I lived during a time when smoking in restaurants was acceptable, and as a child, you couldn’t escape it. To this day, I’ve never once tried a single puff.
Luckily, things have evolved a bit since I was younger. However, that doesn’t make cigarettes and other tobacco products more benign. Especially when they market directly to kids in order to replace the customers they lose each year.
Taking on a billion dollar industry isn’t easy. Which is where National Kick Butts Day began. It’s more than one day, it’s really the beginning to a larger awareness. If you’re wondering what you, or your children can do to take action this year, below are some ideas to think on.
Make a Selfie Statement
This year, on the National Kick Butts Day Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram site, they have a fun way to bring awareness to the cause. Take a selfie with your statement on a piece of paper telling big tobacco that you are not their replacement customer. You can go to this link to find instructions. Don’t forget to include the hashtag #NotAReplacement
If you’re ready to put a bit more effort in, think about joining or starting your own Kick Butts Day Event. If you need ideas, there are plenty to choose from to get your imagination started. They have some fun, creative ways to get involved from hosting an event at your school, to planning out a flash mob! The Children’s Hospital of Illinois are doing a fun Poster & Art Contest this year.
What’s great is they even give you some of the tools you need to make your event a success. You can also sort out the type of event to plan by Age Range, Budget, and Time involved. You just need to create an account to participate. It’s super easy!
Whatever you do, remember that tobacco related deaths are the #1 cause of preventable death in the United States. If you’re a smoker, non-smoker, or have children who are subject to the marketing tactics of big tobacco, then end goal should be the same – to empower yourself and others to live life to the healthiest, and fullest possible. Sometimes, that starts with just a little bit of knowledge.
Carissa Andrews is an passionate author and freelancer from Minnesotan with a focus in creative writing.