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Kick Butts Day a Timely Prelude to Nebraska's June 1 Smoking Ban
Date:3/19/2009

Another reminder to quit smoking from the Nebraska Medical Association

OMAHA, Neb., March 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With Nebraska's statewide smoking ban taking effect in less than three months, it's time for those who smoke to get serious about quitting. They'll be encouraged to do so on Wednesday, March 25, when school children throughout the state take part in "Kick Butts" Day 2009, sponsored by the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids.

"The health risks from smoking are enormous. It's important for children to understand this, and to live in a smoke-free household," says Leslie Spry, M.D., president of the Nebraska Medical Association. "Kick Butts Day is one more way to bring that message home."

In Nebraska, 19.7 percent of high school students and 19.9 percent of adults smoke, with 2,100 children under age 18 becoming new daily smokers each year, and 96,000 exposed to second-hand smoke at home, according to the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids. The Campaign reports that 2,200 Nebraskans die each year from smoking and that 280 die annually from second-hand smoke, and projects that 36,000 Nebraskans now under age 18 ultimately will die prematurely from smoking-related illnesses. The annual cost of smoking in Nebraska exceeds $1 billion, according to the Campaign, which attributes $537 million of this loss directly to smoking and another $500 million to smoking-caused productivity losses.

Dr. Spry, an ardent supporter of Nebraska's smoking ban, acknowledges that often it's not enough to "want" to quit smoking. Many smokers need help. In addition to awareness campaigns such as "Kick Butts" Day, smokers need access to free or low-cost comprehensive public and workplace-sponsored smoking cessation programs. Such programs improve a smoker's odds of breaking the habit by offering literature, support, counseling, FDA-approved medications and multiple quit attempts. Research shows that many smokers require three or more attempts to quit, and the Centers for Disease Control supports funding at least two quit attempts.

Now in its 14th year, Kick Butts Day not only serves as a chance to educate children of all ages about the dangers of tobacco, but also acts as an opportunity for youth advocates to achieve real results in tobacco prevention, control and education. The campaign encourages activism and leadership among elementary, middle and high school students, with rallies and events taking place in every state, and several nations. For more information on Kick Butts Day or to plan an event, visit www.kickbuttsday.org.


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SOURCE Nebraska Medical Association
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