Maxwell children discourage tobacco use by 'kicking butts'



by Donovan Jackson
Air University Public Affairs


4/5/2013 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- The children and teenagers at the Maxwell Youth Center decided to fight back against tobacco products by participating in the 18th annual nationwide Kick Butts Day March 22.

Kick Butts Day is an annual celebration of youth leadership and activism in the fight against tobacco use. In addition, the event aimed to give children the opportunity to research the dangerous chemicals used in cigarette production as well as their harmful effects.

"Most of the youth that participated were really shocked once they discovered what all is used when tobacco companies make cigarettes," said Sarah Cooper, program director at the Maxwell Youth Center. "I think that having the kids conduct their own research really opened their eyes to the dangers of cigarette smoking and other tobacco products."

Once the facts were researched, participants wrote their findings on dry erase boards and small notecards. The notecards were attached to toothpicks and placed into cupcakes so that the information could be seen by the other kids at the youth center.

"I've learned that smoking can basically kill your lungs," said Ethan Christensen, 12. "I'd never smoke because I do not want to get sick or end up in the hospital."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the No. 1 preventable cause of death in the United States is tobacco use. Tobacco use kills more than 400,000 people and cost $96 billion in health care bills each year.