National Kick Butts Day activities were held across the country on March 19th. Kick Butts Day is a day dedicated to encouraging smokers to kick the habit and if you don’t smoke encouraging people to never start.
Van Buren County Youth Leadership Council (YLC) members held a variety of events and activities to bring awareness to the dangers of tobacco use. Van Buren High School YLC members attending the Van Buren Elementary Center and provided peer teaching to students in both 3rd and 4th grade. Their presentations shared the dangers of tobacco use and encouraged them to never begin using tobacco. A second high school group set up a table during the lunch hour to show the dangers of spit tobacco. It is not just about the smoke. There are a lot of harmful chemicals in chewing tobacco as well and YLC members wanted to make sure their peers are aware of these dangers.
Van Buren middle school YLC members had a variety of fun activities with their peers such as a basketball shootout and a piñata! In order to participate in these activities the students had to answer tobacco questions and learned about some of the dangers. A second group of middle school students did an assessment of their community to determine if there were smoke-free locations that needed signage. They provided window clings to businesses in need and made note of public places that could use additional metal signs that will be hung later this year.
Both Van Buren groups also held cigarette butt cleanup projects, one on the VBHS grounds and one at the Stockport City Park. The cigarette butts found on the grounds will be used to remind visitors of the smoke-free campus and discourage smoking in our local parks.
Harmony YLC members also spent time making posters that were hung in their school that shared the dangers of tobacco use. These students will also be doing a spring assessment of their school and doing a cigarette butt cleanup on the grounds.
All of these activities are a reminder to students and adults the dangers of using tobacco, not only for the smoker but those around them. If you know someone who uses tobacco and is interested in quitting the coalition has resources available. Do your part as well to remind youth to never being this addictive habit. For more information or resources you may contact the SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412.