Kick Butts Day is a national day of activism that empowers youth to stand out, speak up and seize control against Big Tobacco. The day is organized by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and was first held in 1996.
On Kick Butts Day, teachers, youth leaders and health advocates organize events to:
- Raise awareness of the problem of tobacco use in their state or community;
- Encourage youth to reject the tobacco industry's deceptive marketing and stay tobacco-free; and
- Urge elected officials to take action to protect kids from tobacco.
Highland Schools, Riverside, Iowa
The KICK (Keep It Clean Kids) anti-tobacco group at the Highland Community School District near Riverside is celebrating Kick Butts Day with their very own #NotAReplacement Instagram photo booth. Students at the Highland Middle and High Schools are invited to make a selfie statement using the photo booth and then posting their photo on social media.
We encourage everyone to participate in this year’s 20th Anniversary of Kick Butts Day making a selfie statement with #KickButtsDay or #NotAReplacement. Then, share your photos on the KBD 2015 Instagram feed, or share your selfies on Flickr, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook!
Targeting Youth through Advertising
Despite legal settlements and laws that have curtailed their marketing, tobacco companies still spend huge sums – $8.8 billion a year – to market their deadly and addictive products, and they continue to entice and addict America’s kids. The 2012 U.S. Surgeon General’s report, Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults, concluded that scientific evidence “consistently and coherently points to the intentional marketing of tobacco products to youth as being a cause of young people’s tobacco use.”
Tobacco marketing is less prominent in the United States today because of restrictions imposed by federal laws and the 1998 legal settlement between the tobacco companies and the states. The tobacco industry has also been shamed into retiring Joe Camel and the Marlboro Man, the notorious marketing icons that lured kids for so long.
Tobacco companies spend $8.8 billion a year – that’s $24 million each day, $1 million every hour – to market cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products in the U.S., according to the latest Federal Trade Commission reports on tobacco marketing (for 2011). Here are some of the marketing strategies they currently use to entice kids:
- Heavy marketing and discounting in stores,
- Slick ads in magazines with large youth readerships, flavored tobacco products, cigars, smokeless tobacco and e-cigarettes.
It’s no surprise that tobacco companies continue to target kids because their business model depends on it: They know that 90 percent of adult smokers start at or before age 18.
Numerous internal tobacco industry documents, revealed in lawsuits against the industry, show that the tobacco companies have long perceived adolescents as a key market, studied their smoking behavior and developed products and marketing campaigns aimed at them.
Why the Term “Replacement”?
An R.J. Reynolds document infamously referred to young people as “the only source of replacement smokers” for those who quit smoking or die from tobacco-related disease. One Philip Morris document stated, “Today’s teenager is tomorrow’s potential regular customer.” Similarly, a Lorillard Tobacco document stated, “[T]he base of our business is the high school student.”
This is why the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids supports Kick Butts Day. They want to Stand Out, Speak Up and Seize Control over Big Tobacco using our youth as tobacco “replacements.”