“Inform, Expose, and Kick Butts!” is the theme of the 23rd annual Kick Butts Day organized by the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids. This national day of activism allows youth to “stand out, speak up and seize control against Big Tobacco.” On March 21, youth across the U.S. will take part in over 1,000 activities and events to draw attention to tobacco’s toll and draw awareness of the tobacco problem. As almost 90% of adult smokers actually start before they are old enough to buy tobacco products, it is the youth who are the “critical and powerful voices” as they fight tobacco’s deceptive marketing and work to make the next generation tobacco-free. We thought it would be interesting to share some of the activities our Florida Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) Clubs have been doing.
The SWAT Clubs in Martin County are in all five public middle schools, three high schools, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Martin County and the YMCA of the Treasure Coast. The SWAT programs are able to teach the students about the dangers of using tobacco products and the advertising that Big Tobacco. They have presented this information at the YMCA health fair and worked with younger students at the Boys & Girls Clubs to make posters for Kick Butts Day.
So what is some of the information you can expect to learn from SWAT Club? Did you know: every day nearly 4,000 students try their first cigarettes and 1,000 students become new daily smokers? Did you also know that nicotine is an addictive drug, making it difficult for people to quit tobacco once they start? Did you know that that only does smoking cause cancer and other diseases, but it shortens the life of a smoker? Did you know there are over 7,000 chemicals in secondhand smoke with more than 250 chemicals known to be toxic?
Joining a SWAT Club can provide you an opportunity to meet people, but it goes beyond that. You develop speaking skills and the confidence to share your information with others so you can teach your generation about the dangers of tobacco and become a tobacco-free generation.
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