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As a part of Kick Butts Day, students from Horizon Middle School SADD are planning a “crime scene” activity on Wednesday, March 20, at 8:10 a.m. to 8:40 a.m. at the school. Bismarck High School SADD is planning “What is in Secondhand Smoke” display from 11:20 a.m. to 12:40 p.m. Students have a goal of educating their peers and the public about the harmful effects of tobacco use and the need to reduce youth smoking rates by using comprehensive prevention programs, raising the price of tobacco and providing services that help people quit.
“The Horizon Middle School students want to highlight the dangers of tobacco and how easy it is to get addicted to nicotine,” said Sue Kahler, Community Outreach Coordinator with Bismarck-Burleigh Public Health Unit. The tobacco industry spends $1.2 million per hour marketing tobacco to youth. In North Dakota, 19.4 percent of high school students smoke cigarettes, 13.6 percent use smokeless tobacco and 13.5 percent smoke cigars. About 6700 North Dakota kids are current daily smokers.
Using tobacco affects every organ in the body. Some of the dangers of tobacco use include: Smoking causes cancers of the bladder, oral cavity, pharynx, larynx (voice box), esophagus, cervix, kidney, lung, pancreas and stomach, and leukemia. Cigarette smokers are two to four times more likely to develop heart disease than nonsmokers. Cigarette smoking is associated with a tenfold increase in the risk of dying from lung disease. Spit tobacco users have a heightened risk for cancers of the mouth, esophagus, throat, stomach and pancreas. Spit tobacco can cause the user to have increased incidence of cavities, gingivitis, and receding gums leading to tooth loss.
“Our Bismarck students are committed to educating about the dangers of tobacco use,” said Kahler. “These students have learned about what happens when people become addicted to tobacco and they are eager to spread the word, so their peers and family members don’t become another statistic.”
March 20th marks the 18th anniversary for the Kick Butts Day campaign, which is sponsored by the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids. Youth across the country will be organizing events and leading information campaigns to spread the message about the tobacco industry and the deadly effects of tobacco.