Oklahoma Youth to Stand Up Against Big Tobacco on Kick Butts Day

OKLAHOMA CITY (March 13, 2017) – With the youth-targeted hashtag of #iKickButts, the 2017 Kick Butts Day celebration encourages youth across Oklahoma to stand up for tobacco-free environments by attending events and exploring the resources offered by Tobacco Stops With Me.

“Young people have a voice and on March 15, Oklahoma youth will gather to educate their peers, family and friends about Big Tobacco and their youth-focused marketing strategies,” said John Woods, executive director of TSET. “We support their efforts for Kick Butts Day and encourage all young people to build healthy futures — free from tobacco.”

Each year in Oklahoma, 2,400 kids become new regular, daily smokers. Tobacco use is still the leading cause of preventable death in Oklahoma, killing more than 7,500 people every year.

TSET grantees partner with organizations across the state to hold events for Kick Butts Day. The TSET Healthy Living Program in Cherokee County hosts an annual event with local youth from Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) action groups who will join forces with community and coalition members to pick up cigarette butts in the city parks.

“When we started, it was just a few youth picking up thousands of nasty cigarette butts,” said Carol Choate, grant coordinator for the TSET Healthy Living Program in Cherokee County. “Now, our small group has become much larger and includes a lot of other local organizations.”

Choate added, “In fact, the cigarette butts collected from our parks have been presented to city councils by our youth to show that it’s time to look at whether we should even allow smoking in our parks. That’s the difference a few youth can make on our communities.”

Although Oklahoma smoking rates have declined, tobacco companies still spend $169 million yearly to market cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products, particularly to youth and young adults. As a result of tobacco marketing, more than 9 million packs of cigarettes are bought or smoked by Oklahoma kids each year.

Tobacco Stops With Me, a program of TSET, provides the tools and information to Oklahomans so they can choose to support healthier tobacco free environments where they live, work, learn and play.

Learn more about motivating peers to be tobacco free at StopsWithMe.com. Youth (14 and older) can also learn more about the free resources offered by the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline at OKhelpline.com.

For more information, contact:
Elyse Maxwell
(405) 568-8568

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About The Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline

The Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline is a free service for Oklahomans wanting to quit tobacco. Funding is primarily provided by the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET), in partnership with the Oklahoma State Department of Health, Oklahoma Health Care Authority, Oklahoma Employees Group Insurance Division and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline has served more than 350,000 Oklahomans since 2003 and was ranked the top quitline for reaching tobacco users seeking treatment in FY2013 by the North American Quitline Consortium.

About Tobacco Stops With Me

Tobacco Stops With Me is a statewide campaign, funded through the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Trust, that provides an efficient, emotional and highly recognizable tobacco-free message for Oklahomans to rally around. By educating the public about the negative effects and impact of tobacco, the goal of Tobacco Stops With Me is to prevent and reduce tobacco use, and improve the health and quality of life of every Oklahoman. Tobacco Stops With Me aims to inspire individuals to make positive changes—not only for their own health, but for the health of the entire state as well.

About TSET

The Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) serves as a partner and bridge builder for organizations working towards shaping a healthier future for all Oklahomans. TSET provides leadership at the intersections of health by working with local coalitions and initiatives across the state, by cultivating innovative and life-changing research, and by working across public and private sectors to develop, support, implement and evaluate creative strategies to take advantage of emerging opportunities to improve the public’s health. TSET – Better Lives Through Better Health. To learn more, go to tset.ok.gov.

Published by Tobacco Stops With Me on March 14, 2017