ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOX) – It’s “National Kick Butts” Day, with an emphasis on keeping kids from ever taking up the cigarette habit.
Vince Wilmore with the “Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids” says this isn’t an easy task, thanks to the Big Tobacco marketers.
“They spend about $8.8 billion a year to market cigarettes and other tobacco products,” says Wilmore. “That’s $1 million every hour to encourage tobacco use, and much of that is aimed at our kids.”
As for adults, Wilmore points out that nearly one in four Missourians are habitual smokers—well above the national average.
He says the message seemed to be sinking in by claiming that youth smoking has been cut in half since the first National Kick Butts Day nearly two decades ago.
Wilmore says even in this post-Joe Camel world, there’s evidence that Big Tobacco is still slyly marketing to youth through eye-grabbing magazine and in-store ads and sweetly-flavored cigars that he says are “clearly aimed” at kids.
“But nationally and in Missouri, about 18 percent of kids still smoke,” says Wilmore. “And every day more than 3,000 kids try their first cigarette.”
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