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Richmond Hill teens kick butts
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Young people from Richmond Hill are joining thousands of kids across the country who are taking part in Kick Butts Day, a nationwide initiative that makes kids leaders in the effort to stop youth tobacco use.

Wednesday, youth at the Richmond Hill Teen Center, a Bryan County Family Connection program, will host a Kick Butts Day Party from 3-5 p.m. to increase the awareness of the dangers of tobacco use among youth. Activities will include exposing the ingredients of cigarettes and a walk around the grounds to clean up cigarette butts.

Director of Richmond Hill Teen Center Heather Walker is excited about the event.

“I think the teens will be surprised when they learn exactly what’s in a cigarette,” Walker said. “I, myself, was surprised to learn that a lot of household chemicals are found in cigarettes.”

Community service hours will be offered to teens that assist in the Cigarette Butt Clean Up.

“This is an easy, fun way to raise awareness of tobacco use among youth,” BCFC Director Wendy Sims said. “The activities should be eye-opening.”

Other elementary, middle and high school students across the country are organizing Kick Butts Day events to fight youth tobacco use. Young people will participate in a variety of Kick Butts Day activities such as marching to state capitals and holding rallies, meeting with elected officials and holding flash mobs in busy community spaces. In 2011, thousands of kids carried out hundreds of events.

“Kids are a powerful part of the solution to reducing youth tobacco use,” said Matthew L. Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, which coordinates Kick Butts Day. “For Kick Butts Day 2012, kids are sending two important messages: they want the tobacco industry to stop targeting them with advertising and they want elected leaders at all levels to do more to protect them from tobacco.”

Throughout the year, young advocates take part in a variety of activities to protect kids from tobacco, including working with elected officials to develop policies that reduce youth tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke and educating their peers about tobacco companies’ deceptive marketing practices.

Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States, killing more than 400,000 people every year. Every day, more than 4,000 kids try their first cigarettes and another 1,000 kids become addicted smokers, one-third of whom will die prematurely as a result.

The Washington, DC-based Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is one of the largest non-governmental education and advocacy initiatives ever undertaken to decrease youth tobacco use in the United States. Tobacco-Free Kids strives to build a healthier future for our children by reducing tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke.

For more information about the Kick Butts Day event at the Richmond Hill Teen Center, contact Walker at 756-3828. For information on the national initiative, visit the Kick Butts Day website at

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