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Lawrence County Stand teams fight youth tobacco use

They want to see some butt kicking - the good kind, that is.

Members of Lawrence County Stand Teams will join with thousands of students across the country April 13 for the 10th annual Kick Butts Day.

Kick Butts Day is a nationwide initiative to discourage tobacco use among teenagers.

"Statistics tell us that one out of every 12 kids try a cigarette before the age of 11," said Maxine Lewis, Community Tobacco Prevention Coordinator. "We believe that parents and schools are powerful allies in stopping use before it happens."

Over the last 10 years, the incident on smoking among young people has declined 40 percent. Educators and health care professionals want to end youth tobacco use altogether.

"Kids are a powerful part of the solution to reducing youth tobacco use," said Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, which coordinates the annual event. " For Kick Butts Day 2005, 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."

Two activities are planned for Kick Butts Day. A video "One Day", will be shown at Bowman Auditorium, Ohio University Southern is scheduled for 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Lawrence County Stand Team members will also be performing "commotion" activities and will be circulating petitions asking for totally smoke-free schools.

South Point High School Stand Team members will present a Poetry and Tobacco Slam at that high school at 5 p.m. Students will read poetry they have written that "slams" tobacco.

"The tobacco companies make smoking look cool in their ads but that's nothing but a lie," said Laura Langham, a SPHS Stand team member. "There's nothing cool about bad breath, smelly clothes and tobacco-stained teeth."

More information is available by calling Lewis at 532-3962 or by visiting the web site kickbuttsday.org.