From the Harford County Health Department:
While visiting schools in Harford County and educating students about the negative impact of using tobacco, I am proud to announce that thousands of 5th grade students across Harford County have pledged never to try tobacco by signing their names on banners that will be exhibited on National Kick Butts Day, Wednesday, March 20, 2013.
Each year, National Kick Butts Day is recognized as a national day for involving and encouraging youth to seize control against tobacco. As Harford County Health Department’s Cigarette Restitution Fund Tobacco Program School Health Specialist, it is my job to teach students of all ages throughout our County about the dangers of tobacco, while empowering them to make healthy decisions to refrain from using tobacco in any form.
As you may already know:
• Harford County has one of the highest rates of adult cigarette use in Maryland.
• Harford has higher rates of use by youth of “any tobacco product” (17.3%) and for initiation of tobacco use” (19.2%) than Maryland State averages for both categories, at 17.1% and 18.1%, respectively.
• Cigarette use by Harford County high school students (17.2%), particularly among 10th through 12th graders is considerably higher than the MD state average for that same age group (14.1%) and has been trending higher in recent years as funding for anti-tobacco advertising campaigns has diminished.
– The number of students who become new daily smokers each year: 6,200
– The number of packs of cigarettes smoked by students each year: 10 million
– The number of Americans killed every day from cigarette smoking: 1,200
We don’t want our children to become a part of tobacco addiction, morbidity and mortality statistics. Along with our (cessation) efforts directed at helping tobacco users “quit”, we believe that the very best means of preventing future tobacco-related deaths is to take tobacco awareness directly to the next generation of potential tobacco users.
Dottie Ruff, School & Community Tobacco Education Specialist