On Wednesday,March 23, 2012, area high school Youth Tobacco Prevention groups from all over Delaware County will kick off “Kick Butts Day.” Each school has a  youth-led, anti-tobacco group, which includes chapters at West Delaware, Maquoketa Valley and Ed-Co High Schools.

At West Delaware High School youth will send a “Killer Quote” about tobacco products by text on their cell phones and facebook accounts.  Ed-Co students will display healthy lungs and lungs treated with the chemicals in tobacco products to show the damaging effects of tobacco to their fellow students. Maquoketa Valley teens will do an activity with the elementary students to show the harmful effects of smokeless tobacco, along with an activity in the high school gym classes with straws to show how hard it is to breathe once smoking has damaged your lungs.  They also will be using twitter to “tweet” a trending topic of the day for Kick Butts Day!

 Tobacco causes 1,200 Americans to die every day from its deadly products.   26,000 children develop asthma annually due to exposure from secondhand smoke.  Wednesday’s street marketing events  were just a few of  the many events planned around the county for “Kick Butts Day” the annual celebration of youth advocacy where thousands of youth across the country speak out against big tobacco. According to the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, which promotes Kick Butts Day, “Since the 1998 tobacco settlement, tobacco companies have nearly doubled their annual marketing expenditures, from $6.9 billion in 1998 to $13.4 billion in 2005 — more than $36 million per day, according to the Federal Trade Commission.  In Iowa, tobacco companies spend $176 million a year to market their product.”  Tobacco use in our state claims 4,500 lives and costs $1.01 billion in health care bills a year.

Has anyone in your family been affected by the devastating effects of tobacco use?    If you or someone you know would like more information about getting help to quit tobacco products please contact www.Quitlineiowa.org or call 1 800 Quit Now. If you would like to get involved in tobacco prevention efforts in your community the Delaware County Tobacco Free Partnership needs your help.  You can call Geri Buelow, Helping Services at 563-582-5317 in Dubuque for more information about this or Youth Tobacco Prevention.

Dusty Ingles (left, West Delaware) and Chanelle Helle (Maquoketa Valley) give a Guest of the Day presentation for Kick Butt's Day to promote Quitline Iowa

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