Kids in Titusville will stand up against tobacco on Wednesday, March 18th along with thousands of other young people nationwide for the 20th annual Kick Butts Day (KBD). Youth will be gathering at the Titusville YWCA for a Kickboxing Rally to raise awareness about the dangers of tobacco use and the issue of young people being targeted as replacement smokers by the tobacco industry.
The event will be held at the Titusville YWCA, 201 N. Franklin Street, from 3:00 -4:30 PM. All area students and community members are invited. University of Pittsburgh Cheerleaders will literally kick off the event and cheer along with the youth as they prepare for a Kickboxing session with Fitness Trainer Heidi Wonderling. Attendees will also be invited to engage in the social media campaign Not a replacement.
Each year the tobacco industry loses around 2 million customers. Many quit but an estimated 1,315 people in the United States die every day because of smoking. Despite some recent success in combating the industries’ reach, tobacco companies are still marketing products to youth. The Not a Replacement Campaign uses the tobacco industries’ own reference to youth as “replacement smokers” to respond by asking kids and community members declare that they will not be replacements. Participants at the Kickboxing rally will be encouraged to take selfies and post and tweet the images with the caption, #NotAReplacement.
Currently 18.4% of Pennsylvania’s high school students smoke with an estimated 2,100 kids under 18 becoming smokers every day. And according the most recent Surgeon’s General Report released in January of this year, an estimated 6 million of our youth smoking today will die prematurely as a result of tobacco related diseases. That’s roughly 244,000 kids in PA alone.
“Kids don’t really think about the long-term health effects of smoking when they start” says Ashleigh English, Executive Director of the YWCA, and the KBD event organizer. “We are hoping this event will change that.”
For more information on the Kick Butts Day event at the YWCA, call 814-827-2746. The event is also in partnership with NWPA Tobacco Programs and The Erie County Department of Health. To find out more about Kick Butts Day, and tobacco facts presented in this article, visit www.kickbuttsday.org.