Local Reality Check youth from Pittsford High School spoke as a part of national Kick Butts Day on March 16.
They joined youth from around the country to voice their concerns about tobacco marketing and the impact it has on their community.
“Tobacco use is still a big problem in New York state, and we want this generation to be the one that ends it,” said Joseph Potter, Reality Check youth coordinator for Monroe County. “We know that tobacco marketing at retail locations is a primary cause of youth smoking, and we’re asking for help from our community leaders to join with us and declare enough is enough.”
Reality Check Members of Pittsford High School tabled, spreading awareness about this national tobacco holiday, along with important facts during their lunch periods on March 31. Members created signs for Kick Butts Day with #NotAReplacement and then hung them and took pictures to upload to social media.
If current smoking rates continue, 5.6 million Americans younger than 18 who are alive today are projected to die prematurely from smoking-related disease, according to the 2014 Surgeon General’s Report.
“Smoking kills, and we’ve got to protect kids from the cause,” said Potter. “Tobacco displays in convenient stores are geared toward kids, which is a huge problem.”
In New York State, 82 percent of retailers including pharmacies, convenience stores and bodegas dedicate at least half of the space behind the checkout counter to openly visible tobacco products.
Kick Butts Day is a national day of activism. More than 1,000 events in schools and communities across the U.S. were held on or around March 16.
For more information: campaignfortobaccofreekids.org; KickButtsDay.org.