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Tennessee Kids Will Kick Butts – and Juul – on Wednesday

STAFF • Mar 19, 2019 at 11:00 PM

KINGSPORT — Kids in Tennessee will unite against tobacco use Wednesday as they join thousands of young people nationwide to mark Kick Butts Day, an annual day of youth activism sponsored by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

Events in Kingsport are among the more than 1,000 activities planned across the United States.

A ZOMBIE WALK

Youth from H.O.P.E. in Kingsport will lead a Zombie Walk rally in which participants will be dressed as zombies and carry multiple signs with anti-tobacco slogans. The event begins at 4 p.m. at 316 Broad St.

Youth with South Central Kingsport Community Development, Inc., New Vision Youth Group, Healthy Kingsport, and the Sullivan Anti-Drug Coalition in Kingsport will participate in an event with the theme “Don’t Vape, Keep In Shape!” It will feature presentations by New Vision Youth, elected officials, and Sullivan County Regional Health Department staff on the health risks of tobacco and e-cigarettes/juuling. The event begins at 4 p.m. in the Riverview Community Room, 301 Louis St.

KICKING JUUL

This year, kids across the country are focused on kicking Juul, the e-cigarette that has become enormously popular.

While cigarette smoking among high school students nationwide has fallen to 8.1 percent, e-cigarette use among high schoolers rose by an alarming 78 percent in 2018 alone — to 20.8 percent of the student population. In 2018, more than 3.6 million middle and high school students used e-cigarettes. U.S. public health leaders have called youth e-cigarette use an “epidemic” that is addicting a new generation of kids.

On Kick Butts Day, youth and health advocates are calling for action to reverse the youth e-cigarette epidemic. In particular, they are calling on the Food and Drug Administration, states and cities to ban all flavored tobacco products, including e-cigarettes in flavors like cotton candy, gummy bear and mango that tempt kids.

“This year on Kick Butts Day, we’re challenging policymakers at every level to do their part to reverse the youth e-cigarette epidemic and continue driving down youth tobacco use,” said Matthew L. Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “We cannot allow e-cigarettes, especially Juul, to addict another generation and reverse the enormous progress we’ve made in reducing youth tobacco use.”

E-CIGARETTE FACTS

• The main cause of the youth e-cigarette epidemic is Juul, which looks like a computer flash drive, is small and easy to hide, delivers a powerful dose of nicotine, and comes in kid-friendly flavors like mango, fruit and mint.

• E-cigarettes pose serious health risks for kids. The U.S. Surgeon General has found that youth use of nicotine in any form — including e-cigarettes — is unsafe, causes addiction and can harm the developing adolescent brain, affecting learning, memory and attention. Studies also show that young people who use e-cigarettes are more likely to become cigarette smokers.

Additional information about tobacco, including state-by-state statistics, can be found at www.tobaccofreekids.org.

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