Local Reality Check youth from Pittsford Mendon/Sutherland and Eastridge high schools tabled during lunch periods speaking out against big tobacco during the week of March 20.
Their efforts were part of the national Kick Butts Day event, which was held March 20
This year the Kick Butts Day event focused on kicking JUUL, the e-cigarette that has become popular among youth across the country, to the curb. Members created signs for Kick Butts Day with the hashtag #NotAReplacement; afterward, Monroe County youth continued their advocacy efforts at Altitude Trampoline Park during a teen night where they educated youth and parents about the dangers of JUULing and tobacco use.
While cigarette smoking among high school students nationwide has fallen to 8.1 percent, e-cigarette use among high schoolers rose an alarming 78 percent in 2018 alone. That’s roughly 21 percent of the student population. In 2018, more than 3.6 million middle and high school students used e-cigarettes. U.S. public health leaders have called youth e-cigarette use an “epidemic” that is addicting a new generation of kids.
In New York, 27.4 percent of high school students use e-cigarettes, while 4.8 percent smoke cigarettes. Tobacco use claims 28,200 lives in New York and costs the state $10.39 billion in health care bills each year.
“This year on Kick Butts Day, we’re educating students, staff and the general public on the youth e-cigarette epidemic by educating them with facts,” said Joseph Potter, Reality Check Manager at the Smoking and Health Action Coalition. “We cannot allow e-cigarettes, especially JUUL, to addict another generation and reverse the enormous progress we’ve made in reducing youth tobacco use.”