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Michigan Kids 'Kick Butts' on March 24
Date:3/18/2010

Michigan Leaders Urged to Increase Cigarette Tax by $1

WASHINGTON, March 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Kids in Michigan will take center stage in the fight against tobacco on March 24 as they join thousands of young people nationwide for the 15th annual Kick Butts Day.  More than 1,000 events are planned in all 50 states and the District of Columbia (for a list of local events see below).

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Sponsored by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Kick Butts Day is an annual celebration of youth leadership and activism in the fight against tobacco use.  Kids are sending two powerful messages on Kick Butts Day: They want the tobacco companies to stop targeting them with marketing for cigarettes and other tobacco products, and they want elected leaders to do more to protect them from tobacco.

In Michigan, health advocates are calling on state leaders to increase the cigarette tax by $1 per pack in order to prevent kids from smoking and raise much-needed revenue to address the state's budget shortfall and fund critical programs such as health care and education.  According to a recent report by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, a $1 cigarette tax increase in Michigan would have the following benefits:

  • Prevent 96,400 kids from becoming smokers;
  • Spur 39,700 current adult smokers to quit;
  • Save 41,300 residents from premature, smoking-caused deaths; and
  • Save $2.0 billion in health care costs.

"On Kick Butts Day, kids are standing up to the tobacco companies, and Michigan leaders should stand with them by increasing the cigarette tax," said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.  "A higher cigarette tax is truly a win-win-win for Michigan: a health win that will prevent kids from smoking and save lives; a budget win that will help protect vital programs like health care and education; and a political win that is popular with the voters."

Tobacco use is the number one cause of preventable death in the United States, killing more than 400,000 people and costing $96 billion in health care bills each year.  While the nation has made significant progress in reducing youth smoking, 20 percent of high school students still smoke.

In Michigan, tobacco use claims 14,500 lives and costs $3.40 billion in health care bills each year.  Currently, 18 percent of the state's high school students smoke, and 65,000 kids try cigarettes for the first time each year.

On Kick Butts Day, kids turn the tables on Big Tobacco with events that range from "They put WHAT in a cigarette?" demonstrations to mock-funerals for the Marlboro Man to rallies at state capitols. Activities in Michigan include (all events are on March 24 unless otherwise noted):

On March 25, students from the Marcus Garvey Academy in Detroit will hear from several local doctors and elected officials on why tobacco is hazardous for their health.  This event will be held in preparation for the state's passage of a smoke-free law on May 1.  Time: 9:45 AM.  Location: 2301 Van Dyke, Detroit.  Contact: Jonnie Hamilton (313) 702-3379.

In Dundee, students from Dundee Middle School will hold a memorial service for those who have died in their community from tobacco use.  Time: 1:30 PM.  Location: 420 Ypsilanti Street, Dundee.  Contact:  April Corie (734) 637-6485.

In Saginaw, students from Swan Valley Middle School will display signs in the front of the school near the highway which represent the number of people who die in Michigan due to tobacco use and secondhand smoke.  Time: 8 AM.   Location: 453 Van Wormer Road, Saginaw.  Contact: Colleen Schaeding (989) 921-2678.

Note to the media: For a list of Kick Butts Day events in Michigan, visit www.kickbuttsday.org/events.  Additional information about tobacco, including state-by-state statistics, can be found at www.tobaccofreekids.org.

SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

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SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
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