Last updated: March 14. 2014 10:31PM - 761 Views
Courtesy of Activate Allen County

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There are times when getting what you want requires kicking a little.

Well, you know the rest.

On Wednesday, the mass of people who desperately want to keep our children from taking up tobacco will celebrate Kick Butts Day. It’s a national day of activism that empowers youth to stand out, speak up and help their peers avoid tobacco. All across the country, teachers, youth leaders and health advocates are organizing events to raise awareness of the tobacco problem, encourage youth to stay tobacco-free and urge strong action to protect kids from tobacco.

The day is the brainchild of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, a national non-profit that has become a leading force in the fight to reduce tobacco use and its deadly toll in the United States and around the world. The group works to save lives by advocating for public policies that prevent kids from smoking, help smokers quit and protect everyone from secondhand smoke.

The group enlist thousands of young people across the country to put their own spin on the mission. In some states, they rally at the capital, meeting with legislators and advocating for stricter tobacco policies. In cities, they hold walking audits in which kids walks the routes to school and count the number of tobacco retailers along the way. Others put on art exhibits and installations to illustrate the dangers of tobacco.

Here in Allen County, Activate Allen County is leading the charge with a Kick Butts Video contest. Teens ages 13 through 18 were asked to submit videos on the following themes:

Send a message to Big Tobacco: The tobacco industry addicts nearly than 1,000 youth every day. The industry targets youth in the magazines we read, the movies we watch, even the stores where we shop. Let tobacco companies know they can’t target you.

What’s in a cigarette?:There are over 47,000 chemicals in a single puff of cigarette smoke, and at least 69 of them are known to cause cancer. Many of these chemicals, like ammonia, can be found in everyday household products. It’s time to expose the truth behind these ingredients.

A push for policy: Are you pushing for a smoke-free policy in your community or state? What about a tobacco tax increase? Whether you’re trying to pass a smoke-free law, tobacco tax, or other policy, a Public Service Announcement is a great way to educate others about the importance of your policy.

It starts with me: It only takes one person to stand out, speak up, and seize control against tobacco. How do you take a stand against tobacco?

In the next week, those videos will be posted to the Activate Allen County Facebook page and we are going to invite the public to vote for their favorite one. The winning video will be cut into a 30-second commercial and aired on local TV through the month of April.

You can show your support for our kids’ efforts by going to the Activate Allen County Facebook page and hitting like. Then, keep an eye out and vote for the video you believe really Kicks Butt.

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