Louisiana Youth, TFL and Elected Officials Host Capitol Press Conference In Recognition of Kick Butts Day 2016

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Groups gather for Kick Butts Day 2016

In recognition of today’s 21st annual Kick Butts Day (KBD), Senator Francis Thompson (Delhi), Senator Mike Walsworth (West Monroe), State Representative Ted James (Baton Rouge), The Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living (TFL) and more than 200 youth from across Louisiana stood up to the tobacco industry, which continues to target those under age, at the Capitol today.

Louisiana’s youth tobacco use rates remain higher than the national average, with approximately 35.2 percent of high school and 19.8 percent of middle school students in Louisiana reporting current use of some form of tobacco, according to the 2015 Youth Tobacco Survey (YTS). Plus, a growing number of youth are using e-cigarettes, an alarming trend that raises the concern that e-cigarettes could be a gateway to nicotine addiction and the use of regular cigarettes. There also remain a number of questions about the long-term health effects of e-cigarettes. Approximately 8.1 percent of high school and 4.3 percent of middle school students in Louisiana reported having used e-cigarettes on at least one day in the past 30 days, according to the 2015 YTS.

Youth are targeted everyday by big tobacco, which these statistics clearly show. KBD is a national day of activism that empowers youth to stand out, speak up and seize control against the big tobacco companies at hundreds of events from coast to coast. Attendees gathered today at the Capitol for a day-long event that included youth advocacy workshops, meeting with state legislators, a rally and press conference.

“Reaching our youth during the transition from middle and high school is crucial because the average smoker tries their first cigarette before the age of 18,” said Tonia Moore, Associate Director for TFL. “We are so very proud of our youth involved in today’s KBD event and TFL’s Defy the Lies initiative, a youth movement that takes down the influence of the tobacco industry, promotes tobacco-free lifestyles, and brings awareness to media and elected officials about what tobacco products are being consumed by and sold to our youth. The time is now to get a better handle on the large number of youth using tobacco products, stand up to the aggressive marketing tactics being used today to target youth and educate about the importance of e-cigarette regulation.”

For more information about TFL, please visit http://www.tobaccofreeliving.org.

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The Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living
The Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living (TFL) mission is to implement and evaluate tobacco control initiatives that can reduce and prevent the use of tobacco, as well as eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke by providing statewide coordination of existing tobacco control initiatives, funding innovative community programs for tobacco control, offering services for people who are ready to quit and developing statewide media campaigns to help reduce the excessive burden of tobacco use on the state’s resources and improve the overall health and quality of life in Louisiana. For more information visit http://www.tobaccofreeliving.org. To find out more about the dangers of secondhand smoke and show your support for a 100-percent smoke-free Louisiana, visit http://www.healthierairforall.org.

About the Louisiana Cancer Research Consortium (LCRC)
The Louisiana Cancer Research Center (LCRC) promotes education and conducts research in the diagnosis, detection and treatment of cancer, while pursuing a National Cancer Institute (NCI) designation. LCRC consists of four research and medical powerhouses in the state to form a partnership called the LCRC Consortium. Each consortium partner contributes unique strengths to the LCRC. Originating partners, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans and Tulane University Health Sciences Center bring an extensive research and education base, with a strong depth of scientific knowledge. Xavier University of Louisiana brings expertise in pharmacology, health disparities and minority health; and, Ochsner Health System adds depth to the clinical trials and medical framework needed to touch patients’ lives. Its vision is to address the needs of the people served and win the fight against cancer. For more information, visit http://www.louisianacancercenter.org.

About the Louisiana Public Health Institute (LPHI)
Founded in 1997, The Louisiana Public Health Institute’s mission is to promote and improve the health and quality of life in Louisiana through public-private partnering at the community, parish and state levels. By fostering collaborative endeavors in the areas of health information, public policy, applied research, and community capacity enhancement, LPHI works to develop community-oriented solutions that improve the health of the Louisiana population. For more information, visit http://www.lphi.org.

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Jasmine Gossett
Louisiana Public Health
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