Kick some butt today

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Today, March 19, is National Kick Butts Day.

Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S., with 6,200 people killed in Louisiana each year. Additionally, smoking costs the state $3 billion in direct costs and lost productivity each year.

Kick Butts Day was started in 1996 as a day of activism to empower youth to stand out, speak up and seize control against Big Tobacco. The day is organized by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and sponsored by the United Health Foundation.

Many “kick butts” events are held around the country aiming to explain the dangers of cigarettes to the young and vulnerable audience of children.

Unfortunately, anti-smoking messages are harder to get across to children if they see their parents smoke. Studies have shown that children are three times more likely to smoke if their parents smoke.

Decades ago, risks associated with smoking were not as well known as they are today. In fact, as recently as in the 1950s, it was not uncommon for the doctor to offer his patient a cigarette while they discussed her pregnancy in his office.

But in this day and age, with all of the health risks of smoking known and well publicized, if you’re still a smoker than the butt you should kick first is your own.

For older smokers, there is a plethora of help available to quit smoking.

The Smoking Cessation Trust is the result of a 2011 court judgment in a 14-year-old class action lawsuit titled Scott v. American Tobacco Company. The judgment ordered certain tobacco companies to fund a statewide, 10-year smoking cessation program to benefit more than 200,000 Louisiana smokers who are members of the plaintiff class. All Louisiana residents who began smoking cigarettes before Sept. 1, 1988 are eligible to apply. Applicants who register for the program and are approved are eligible to receive medications, counseling, a telephone support line and other support services. For more information or to register online, visit the Smoking Cessation Trust’s website at or call toll-free at 1-855-259-6346.