Kick Butts Day
On March 20, 2019, the Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living (TFL) educated the community, public officials and advocates about combatting tobacco use among youth during a Kick Butts Day event on the campus of Louisiana Technical University.
Kick Butts Day is a national day of activism that empowers youth to stand out, speak up and take a stand against Big Tobacco.
“The purpose of Kick Butts Day events is to raise awareness of the problem of tobacco use across all demographics, but particularly young people” said Tania Moore, TFL Director. “We encourage middle school and high school-aged youth to reject the tobacco industry's deceptive marketing and stay tobacco-free, and we urge elected officials to take action to protect youth from tobacco,” said Tonia Moore, TFL Director. “We want to see our youth lead the way to toward a healthier future.
Ruston Mayor Ronny Walker spoke to the need for legislation in communities around the state that will protect citizens from second-hand smoke.
“Ruston has several healthy community initiatives. One example is the recent passing and implementation of our smoke-free ordinance.” said Walker. “With this legislation, Ruston became the 21st municipality in the state to adopt a comprehensive smoke-free policy and we encourage other communities to create their own road map to tobacco-free policies.”
Dr. Alex Billoux, Assistant Secretary of Health for the Office of Public Health-Louisiana, outlined some of the initiatives currently in place to curb smoking and vaping and shared the alarming statistics related to teen tobacco use:
- 12.3% of Louisiana's teens use tobacco, above the national average of 8.1%.
- Between 2015 and 2017, the use of e-cigarettes increased by 48.2% among Louisiana high school students and 65.4% among Louisiana middle school students.
- More than 2,000 young people in Louisiana become new daily smokers each year.
“It’s clear that if we are going to achieve a tobacco-free Louisiana, we have to start with protecting our youth,” said Dr. Billioux. “The Louisiana Department of Health partners with several organizations throughout the state to implement innovative approaches to curb youth tobacco use. Together with our partners, we will continue to move Louisiana’s health forward statewide.”
The keynote presentation by Alayna P. Tackett, PhD., a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Oklahoma Tobacco Research Center, presented her research on the popular youth tobacco product JUUL and the effects of vaping on youth.