Written by Melisa Damcevska, Preventionist
Kick Butts Day is a national day of activism that empowers youth to stand up and speak out against Big Tobacco.
Several years ago, Kick Butts Day was focused on reducing and preventing cigarette use by calling out marketing techniques used by tobacco companies. This year, the focus has shifted to the prevention of e-cigarettes, as Big Tobacco has taken on a new form and method of marketing. Did you know that almost 18% of high school seniors in Middlesex County reported using an e-cigarette in the past 30 days? Kick Butts Day gives youth the opportunity and power to stand up to Big Tobacco for their own health and wellness.
Kick Butts Day 2019 took place on March 20th this year, with over 1,000 schools and communities across the United States and across the world participating. In Middlesex County, Dunellen and South Brunswick High School both held their own Kick Butts Day Events.
In Dunellen, high school students conducted a cross-over age training with 2nd graders and taught a smoking lesson. In South Brunswick High School, students created posters about the risks and dangers of e-cigarette use and hung them up around the school for their peers to see. Both high schools also have Youth Tobacco Action groups – groups of students working to prevent the use of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, among their peers and communities. South Brunswick High School used Kick Butts Day to recruit more students for the group, providing the student body with an opportunity to showcase their artistic and leadership skills.
On Kick Butts Day, youth were encouraged to raise awareness about the problem of tobacco in their schools and communities and encourage youth to break down the marketing tobacco companies use. This day gives students a voice in a world where sometimes their thoughts may be overlooked. Using peer to peer education is powerful, and spreading information about e-cigarettes and breaking down myths is an important topic for today’s youth to protect their health, safety and happiness and give them the skills to stand up for themselves.