On March 18, students in Iowa will join thousands of young people nationwide for the 20th annual Kick Butts Day. More than 1,000 events are planned nationwide for this day of youth activism, sponsored by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. (See below for a list of local events.)

According to a press release from the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, on Kick Butts Day, “kids encourage their peers to stay tobacco-free, demand that tobacco companies stop marketing deadly, addictive products to them and encourage elected officials to do more to reduce youth tobacco use.”

“On Kick Butts Day, kids stand up and reject Big Tobacco’s manipulative marketing,” said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “We can make the next generation tobacco-free and end the tobacco epidemic for good. Elected officials can help reach that goal by standing with kids and supporting proven strategies to prevent youth tobacco use, including higher tobacco taxes, strong smoke-free laws and prevention programs.”

According to the organizers of the vent, in Iowa, tobacco use claims 5,100 lives and costs $1.28 billion in health care bills each year. They also claim that 18.1 percent of Iowa’s high school students currently smoke cigarettes.

In Iowa, activities include:

On March 16, students at Van Buren Middle School in Keosauqua will display a creative public message about tobacco abstinence outside of the school. They will also hold a point of sale scavenger hunt and an awareness walk. Time: 11 AM. Location: 503 Henry Street, Keosauqua. Contact: Melissa Daugherty (641) 919-0183.

Teens Against Tobacco Use (TATU) at Mount Pleasant Middle School will host a health fair where youth will participate in interactive events and displays that expose the dangers of cigarettes and e-cigarettes. Time: 2 PM.  Location: 414 North Adams Street, Mount Pleasant.  Contact: Chris Kempker (319) 537-1222.

Youth will gather at the Dubuque Community YMCA to survey tobacco retailers, litter and smokers around area schools. Time: 4 PM. Location: 35 N. Booth Street, Dubuque. Contact: Vicki Gassman (563) 564-5669.

Community members will break into teams and meet at New Horizons-Muscatine to pick up cigarette butts. Certificates and awards will be handed out to participants. Time: 8 AM.  Location: 1605 Cedar Street,Muscatine. Contact: Mandy Moody (563) 554-0906.

All events are on March 18 unless otherwise indicated. For a full list of Kick Butts Day activities in Iowa, visitwww.kickbuttsday.org/map. Additional information about tobacco, including state-by-state statistics, can be found at www.tobaccofreekids.org.

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