Youth takes stand against deceptive advertising

By Natalie Rubino

March 20, 2013 Updated Mar 21, 2013 at 10:04 AM EDT

(WBNG Binghamton) Wednesday marks a national holiday encouraging youth to "reject the tobacco industry's deceptive marketing."

Over 1,000 schools across the country celebrated "Kick Butts" day, which is organized by Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids.

The day is meant to raise awareness about the dangers of smoking and the negative effects of tobacco advertisements.

A government study shows 12.5 percent of high school students in New York State and 18.1 percent of high school students in the U.S. smoke tobacco.

"One third of children under age18 who smoke are able to quit but half of the remaining two thirds will die a premature death from smoking," said Sharon Fischer, the tobacco control coordinator of the Broome County Health Department.

"Smokers need to realize it takes usually five to seven attempts before they successfully quit," she said. "So if they've tried to quit once or twice [and failed] they shouldn't be discouraged. It's just part of the process."

In New York, roughly 22,000 kids under 18 become daily smokers each year.

The tobacco industry spends about $196 million a year throughout the state on marketing and advertisements.

According to the "We've Seen Enough Tobacco Marketing! Campaign," "Kids that visit convenient stores that feature tobacco marketing are are 64 percent more likely to start smoking than kids who visit less than once a week.

Fischer said the tobacco industry just wants new costumers.

"They call youth 'replacement smokers because they need to replace the people who die or are able to quit smoking," she said. "We really don't want to make the big tobacco rich at the cost of our lives."

Local students will celebrate Kick Butts Day Saturday, March 20 with a three on three tournament at the Boys and Girls Club on Clinton Street from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

To register a team of three, call (607) 687-4020.

Registration is free and food and drinks will be served.