Kick Butts Day 2014 is set for next Wednesday, March 19.

Last year, more than 1,200 Kick Butts Day events were registered through the national organization sponsored by the United Health Foundation.

Teachers, youth leaders, public health advocates, and other community leaders are encouraged to organize events intended to get youth to stand out, speak out, and seize control against Big Tobacco.

In Arkansas, 68,700 youth currently aged 0 to 17 are projected to die from smoking . Each year, more than 5,000 Arkansans die from smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke, and more than 16 million Americans are living with at least one chronic condition caused by smoking.

Moreover, smoking takes a devastating toll on our nation’s economy — costing more than $289 billion a year, including at least $133 billion in direct medical care for adults and more than $156 billion in lost productivity.

In addition to participating in local activities, teens can also raise awareness through social media about how the tobacco industry tries to manipulate youth by using the hashtag #tobaccotargetsme. Youth participation and advocacy plays a vital role in countering tobacco advertising and promotions that target youth. Exposure to point of sale advertising and promotion prompts smoking initiation, encourages tobacco use, and undermines quit attempts.

Kick Butts Day is sponsored by the United Health Foundation and the Logan County Health Coalition. For more information or for materials, please call 479-965-3612. Visit for more information, activities, and ideas.