About two hundred teenagers wearing bright red t-shirts staged a “kick butts” rally at the statehouse today. Fifteen-year-old Jacklyn McEachran of Ames was among the teens who are protesting budget cuts in the state anti-smoking programs. The students, who’ve formed a group called “JEL” which stands for “Just Eliminate Lies,” put up a “memorial wall” with pictures of family and friends who’ve died from smoking-related illnesses. Eighteen-year-old Whitney Simonson-Frank of Arthur talked about a close, family friend who died of smoking related causes. Seventeen-year-old Matt Lynch of Lawler says the advertising strategies of tobacco companies make teens angry. There were “Kick Butts Day” events in other states, all aimed at getting state policymakers to spend more money on anti-smoking programs. Many states are getting million of dollars from tobacco companies in a legal settlement, and Iowa’s share is being used for health-related programs.
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