Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Moore Haven Teen Kicking Butts Against Tobacco

Campaign Against Flavored Tobacco Wednesday

Moore Haven, FL — Kids in Glades County want you to know that tobacco kills no matter how big tobacco sugarcoats it.

Glades County Tobacco Prevention Partnership and SWAT (Students Working Against Tobacco) are speaking up and taking action against flavored tobacco for Kick Butts Day, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids national day of activism that empowers youth to fight back against Big Tobacco.

In observance of “Kick Butts” day, SWAT members at Moore Haven Jr. – Sr. High School will raise awareness about the dangers of candy flavored tobacco products. SWAT members believe that the colorful, fun packaging and "sugarcoated" brands were intentionally designed to manipulate youth and mask the serious risks associated with the products.

On “Kick Butts” day, SWAT members at Moore Haven Jr. – Sr. High School will spend the day educating their peers on the dangers of candy flavored tobacco products utilizing every form of communication imaginable. SWAT members will provide educational tidbits on the dangers of candy flavored tobacco both orally and through the dissemination of factual literature. They will also provide visuals that will be displayed throughout the school. “We will be making our presence felt both vocally and visually on “Kick Butts” day and everyday,” stated SWAT members.

“You Can’t Sugarcoat the Truth,” stated Monica Leavy, an energetic SWAT member at Moore Haven Jr. – Sr. High School. “Regardless of how appealing it may be packaged, candy flavored tobacco is dangerous. It is no different than cigarettes, it too can lead to life-threatening diseases,” stated Leavy.

Sweet Deception
Nationally, the issue of flavored tobacco products has not gone unnoticed. Fruit- and candy-flavored cigarettes were banned under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act in 2009. However, menthol cigarettes, flavored cigars, cigarillos and smokeless products were not included.

With cigarette smoking rates on the decline in the United States, the tobacco industry helps insure its livelihood by marketing products like flavored tobacco to attract a new generation of tobacco users. Many children and teens mistakenly believe flavored tobacco products are less harmful than their non-flavored counterparts. Once youth start using one tobacco product, they are more likely to experiment with others.

The tobacco industry also loses customers because 1,200 people in the U.S. die from smoking every day. Yet every day, 3,800 young people under 18 years of age smoke their first cigarette. In fact, nearly nine out of 10 smokers started by age 18.

The younger youth are when they start using tobacco, the more likely they’ll be addicted. Nicotine addiction prolongs tobacco use and can lead to severe health consequences.

“Youth have always been a target for the tobacco industry,” said State Surgeon General Dr. John Armstrong. “Numerous internal tobacco industry documents reveal that the tobacco companies perceive youth as an important target. In light of big tobacco tactics, we are redoubling tobacco free collaboration across Florida.”

Protecting Youth
Cities and counties across Florida have taken on flavored tobacco. On the 10th day of May, 2011, Glades County passed a resolution urging tobacco retailers to restrict the sale and marketing of flavored tobacco products. Learn more about the dangers of flavored tobacco at www.tobaccofreeflorida.com/flavoredtobacco.

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