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Alabama Kids 'Kick Butts' on March 28


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Events Spotlight Deadly Chemicals in Cigarettes, Urge Elected Officials to Take Action to Curb Tobacco Use

WASHINGTON, March 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Kids across Alabama

will rally against tobacco on March 28 as they join thousands of young

people nationwide for the twelfth annual Kick Butts Day, sponsored by the

Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. More than 2,000 events are planned across

the nation (for a list of local events see below).

This year, Kick Butts Day is raising awareness about the thousands of

chemicals in each puff of cigarette smoke and the need for elected

officials at all levels to step up the fight to reduce smoking and other

tobacco use.

Cigarette smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals, including at least

69 that cause cancer and many more that are hazardous. But a new poll

released by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids finds that most Americans

are not aware of the dangerous chemicals in cigarettes and cigarette smoke.

The poll, conducted March 7-11, found that 71 percent of adults and 79

percent of teens could not name any of the chemicals found in cigarette

smoke, other than tar and nicotine. Detailed poll results can be found at

http://tobaccofreekids.org/pdf/2007poll.pdf

Chemicals in cigarette smoke include arsenic (used in rat poison,

causes cancer in humans), ammonia (used in household cleaners, can irritate

the respiratory tract and elevate blood pressure), formaldehyde (used to

embalm bodies, causes nasal cancer and can damage the lungs, skin and

digestive system), and polonium 210 (a highly radioactive element that

causes cancer). To raise awareness about these and other hazardous

chemicals in cigarettes, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids has launched a

new web site -- http://www.whatareyousmoking.org.

This year, health advocates are urging Congress to pass legislation

granting the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authority to regulate

tobacco products. Among other things, the FDA could require that tobacco

companies disclose the contents of tobacco products and remove harmful

ingredients; crack down on tobacco marketing and sales to kids; and stop

tobacco companies from misleading the public about the health risks of

their products.

Neither U.S. Senator Richard Shelby nor U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions is a

co-sponsor of the legislation.

"It is inexcusable that tobacco products, the number one preventable

cause of death in America, are one of the least regulated products sold in

America," said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free

Kids. "By granting the FDA authority to regulate tobacco products, Congress

can stop the tobacco industry from targeting our children and misleading

the public. We hope Kick Butts Day will inspire elected leaders across the

nation to support effective measures to protect children and save lives."

At the state level, health advocates are urging governors and

legislators to adopt proven measures to reduce tobacco use and exposure to

secondhand smoke, including higher tobacco taxes, smoke-free workplace

laws, and well-funded programs to prevent kids from smoking and help

smokers quit.

Nationwide, tobacco use kills more than 400,000 people and costs more

than $96 billion in health care bills each year, and 23 percent of high

school students smoke. In Alabama, tobacco use kills 8,090 residents and

costs the state $1.5 billion in health care bills a year, and 24.4 percent

of high school students smoke.

Kick Butts Day comes as the tobacco industry is spending record amounts

to market its deadly products. According to the Federal Trade Commission,

the tobacco companies spend more than $15.4 billion a year to market their

products in the U.S. -- that's $42 million a day. In Alabama, tobacco

companies spend $282 million a year to market their products.

On Kick Butts Day, kids turn the tables on Big Tobacco with events that

range from "They put WHAT in a cigarette?" demonstrations to mock-funerals

for the Marlboro Man to rallies at state capitols. Activities in Alabama

include (all events are on March 28 unless otherwise noted):

In Birmingham, the Jefferson County Department of Health and the

Coalition for Tobacco-Free Jefferson County will sponsor a reception to

recognize the winners and 10 participating local schools in the annual

"Truth about Tobacco" poster contest. Time: 6 PM. Location: 1400 6th

Avenue, Conference Room A, Birmingham. Contact: Wanda Heard (205) 930-1485

At Graham Elementary School in Tallageda, a representative from the

American Lung Association will speak to sixth graders about the dangers of

tobacco use. Participants will wear a student-designed t-shirt in support

of Smoke-Free Talladega and Kick Butts Day. Time: 10 AM. Location: Graham

Elementary School, 403 Cedar Street, Talladega. Contact: Katrina Upchurch

(256) 493-2634

At the Wal-Mart in Alabaster, the Youth Empowerment Program will clean

the parking lot and surrounding areas of cigarette butts, count the number

of butts and present their findings to the City Council. Time: 9 AM.

Location: Wal-Mart parking lot, 630 Colonial Promenade Parkway, Alabaster.

SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

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