For Immediate Release - March 19, 2014

More Than 250 Students Celebrate Kick Butts Day at the Massachusetts State House

Youth visit legislators to discuss tobacco industry marketing tactics

BOSTON — Representatives from the Department of Public Health (DPH) today joined more than 250 young people from across the Commonwealth at the State House for the national observance of Kick Butts Day, recognizing the contributions of teenagers in smoking cessation and prevention efforts.

The young people participating in today’s event are part of DPH’s youth movement, The 84, which represents the 84 percent of young people in Massachusetts who don’t smoke.

High school students involved in The 84 have been educating their communities and their local lawmakers about issues relating to tobacco and, working with local health boards and other programs; have promoted effective tobacco prevention strategies in their communities. Members of The 84 Movement have been vital in fighting the way tobacco industry markets its products to youth.

“Tobacco companies have been using cheap prices, glitzy packaging, and widespread availability to market their new, flavored products to young people,” said DPH Commissioner Cheryl Bartlett. “Now they’re using those same strategies to market e-hookahs and other types of flavored e-cigarettes at young people. But young people in The 84 Movement are speaking out against these marketing tactics.”

During the closing event at the State House, Youth Leadership Awards were presented to five regional and one statewide winner for their dedicated efforts in the fight against tobacco both in their communities and across Massachusetts. Regional winners were: Renee Hamblin (Arlington), Bradley Bousquet (Athol), Rhajon Anderson (Boston), Carren Jepchumba (Gloucester), and Taylor Guertin (South Hadley). The Statewide Leadership Award winner was Gina DiScipio (Malden).

Kick Butts Day is a national tobacco observance started by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. It is celebrated every year in Massachusetts at an event at the State House.

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