Friday, March 09, 2012

Hendry Kids "Kicking Butts" In March

Kids Across Hendry County are Fighting Back and Kicking Butts
LABELLE, FL. -- If you’re a cigarette smoker, chances are you started in your teens. The fact is nine out of 10 adult smokers began while in their teens, or earlier. Even today, more than 21,300 Florida youth, under age 18, become new smokers each year.

Teen smoking has declined in recent years. However, 15.4 percent of high school students and 10.2 percent of middle school students in Hendry County reported current cigarette use in 2010.

To help prevent youth tobacco use, Hendry Tobacco-Free Partnership and Florida Department of Health’s Tobacco Free Florida are speaking up and taking action. In observance of Kick Butts Day on March 21, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids national day of activism that empowers youth to fight back against Big Tobacco, Hendry Students Working Against Tobacco will he conducting tobacco butts clean-up at local parks, rivers and lakes. This event will highlight how cigarette butts are just as much a liter problem as bottles, cans and other rubbish.

”400, 000 Americans die every year from tobacco-related causes,” said Melissa Franco, President of Clewiston High School SWAT. ”The tobacco industry addicts more than 1,000 youth every day and one in three youth will die prematurely because of their tobacco use. Tobacco use is the number one cause of preventable death in the United States and around the world. We know how to win the fight against tobacco. Science and experience have identified proven cost-effective strategies to prevent kids from smoking, help smokers quit and protect everyone from secondhand smoke." 

On March 21, students across Hendry County will conduct several events for the national Kick Butts Day campaign. Contact the Valarie James at the health department for more information or to volunteer for this event. If you are a smoker and are ready to quit you can contact Angelica Pena at Hendry Regional Medical Center for local tobacco cessation services.

”Tobacco is a very addictive and potentially dangerous drug” said Sherry Elliott, Hendry Tobacco-Free Partnership Chairperson, ”For years, the tobacco industry has marketed toward youth and have always considered them as replacement smokers. The average age that youth in Hendry Countybegin using tobacco is 12, which is middle school. Once a person starts using tobacco, it takes hard work and a consistent plan to break the habit. We want all youth in Hendry County to safe and healthy environments to play and have fun.”

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