Teenage anti-smoking activists in Iowa are spreading the word today about how smoking kills as part of the 14th annual Kick Butts Day. Danny McGoldrick, vice president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, says the young Iowans are finding all sorts of creative ways to relay their message.
Across Iowa today, kids are holding carnivals, trivia games, information sessions and even mock funerals for the Marlboro man. Some students planned to set up mock-cemeteries with tombstones and crosses, representing the four-thousand Iowans who die every year from tobacco-related diseases.
McGoldrick says today’s events are part of a national effort to support solutions proven to reduce youth smoking, including funding smoking prevention programs, increasing cigarette taxes and smoke-free air laws.
"About 19-percent of kids in Iowa are still smokers and that’s 19-percent too many," McGoldrick says. "We’ve made progress over the last ten years but it’s leveled out over the last few. Tobacco companies are still spending 13-billion dollars a year on marketing, much of that directed to our kids."
Nationwide, he says studies find one person dies every 72-seconds from tobacco use and the tobacco industry addicts more than one-thousand youth every day. He says almost 90-percent of adults who are or were smokers say they started smoking by the time they were 18.
He encourages people to visit the group’s website "www.tobaccofreekids.org" and learn more about Kick Butts Day and learn how to take action in Iowa and in Washington D.C.
McGoldrick says the F.D.A. needs more power to regulate tobacco products, which he says kill 400-thousand people a year, yet are exempt from regulation.