On Your Health

Check back to the INTEGRIS On Your Health blog for the latest health and wellness news for all Oklahomans.

National Kick Butts Day

09 March 2017

Posted in

Adult smoking rates in U.S. have dropped by half over the last 50 years. Youth smoking rates have done the same in the last 20 years. Still, our work isn’t finished. More than 18 percent of adults and more than 15 percent of high school students smoke, and tobacco is still the leading cause of preventable death in the United States — killing more than alcohol, illegal drugs, car accidents, murders and suicides combined.

Next week, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids will sponsor events around the country, including several in central Oklahoma, with the goal of empowering American youth to be tobacco-free for life.

Kicking butts for good

With more than 1,000 events happening across the country and around the world, National Kick Butts Day is a global day of activism, empowering and equipping kids and teenagers to confront the dangers of tobacco and resist the tactics of major tobacco companies. The goals of these events are awareness of the dangers of tobacco, encouragement to be tobacco-free, and solutions to reduce tobacco use.

Why is it so important for kids and teenagers to take part in such an event?

  • In the U.S., 90 percent of all smokers begin smoking as a teen or even earlier.
  • Each day, 3,000 Oklahoma children under the age of 18 try a cigarette for the first time, and 700 become addicted to tobacco.
  • One out of three will die prematurely from a disease caused by smoking.

As a country, we’ve made significant improvements when it comes to decreasing tobacco use, but our children still face the dangers of tobacco far too often.

How tobacco takes its toll

Tobacco use leads to more preventable deaths in the U.S. than any other cause, killing more than 480,000 Americans each year. Other staggering costs of tobacco include:

  • $132.5 billion in annual medical costs from tobacco-related diseases
  • 50,000 people killed by secondhand smoke each year
  • Addictions to other forms of tobacco, including spit/chew/smokeless tobacco, cigars and e-cigarettes
  • Severe asthma in babies and children directly related to secondhand smoke
  • Sicknesses and setbacks in infants exposed to secondhand smoke

Kick Butts Day in Oklahoma

According to the Oklahoma State Department of Health, adult smoking in Oklahoma has reached an all-time low, decreasing by 19 percent in the last four years. From 2013 to 2014 alone, the number of adult smokers in Oklahoma dropped by 78,000. In the early 2000s, Oklahoma ranked 4th in the nation for highest tobacco use. As of 2017, we are now ranked 11th nationwide.

More than 216,000 Oklahoma children are still exposed to secondhand smoke at home, and 88,000 Oklahoma kids will die prematurely from smoking. Our state spends more than $1.62 billion in tobacco-related health care costs, and individual households in Oklahoma spend $870 per year in tax burdens from smoking-related expenditures.

Children, students and adults from all over Oklahoma will gather in the coming weeks to speak up and speak out against tobacco during Kick Butts Day events. Join the fight in one of these locations:

Oklahoma City – Douglas High School, March 17, 6 – 9 p.m.

Tinker Air Force Base - Tinker Youth Center, March 15, all day

City of Noble – Main Street, March 26, 1 – 4 p.m.

It’s time to help Oklahoma’s youth to say no to Big Tobacco, say no to peer pressure, and say no to addiction, disease and preventable deaths caused by smoking.