Healthy Alaskans 2020 Update: Kick Butts Day, March 15
This month, HA2020 is promoting Kick Butts Day, March 15th.
The associated HA2020 Leading Health Indicators addressing tobacco are:
LHI 2: “Increase the percentage of adolescents who have NOT smoked cigarettes on one or more of the past 30 days,” & LHI 3: “Increase the percentage of adults who currently do not smoke cigarettes.” Select the following link to view this and the other Leading Health Indicators http://hss.state.ak.us/ha2020/
In Alaska and across the nation, Public Health provides comprehensive tobacco prevention and control programs using a combination of strategies that work together to change social norms and support the non-use of tobacco. Strategies include counter-marketing, tobacco price increases, smoke-free places, restricting youth access to tobacco products, and cessation support for tobacco users. tobaccofree.alaska.gov
Kick Butts Day is a national day of activism that empowers youth to stand out, speak up and seize control against tobacco. More than 1,000 events are held in schools and communities across the United States and even around the world. To see what activities are happening in your community for Kick Butts Day check online at kickbuttsday.org/map.
On Kick Butts Day, teachers, youth leaders and health advocates organize events to:
• Raise awareness of the problem of tobacco use in their state or community;
• Encourage youth to reject the tobacco industry's deceptive marketing and stay tobacco-free; and
• Urge elected officials to take action to protect kids from tobacco.
The Tobacco Prevention and Control program, as part of the Division of Public Health, and its partners have planned events statewide in order to raise awareness about the dangers of tobacco, encourage peers to be tobacco-free, and support effective solutions to reduce tobacco use.
From the Matanuska Susitna to Sitka School Districts, and from Nenana to Northwest Arctic School District, schools, teachers, and students are planning activities for Kick Butts Day. These activities also compliment the other work that is happening around the state to help prevent kids from smoking, help smokers quit and protect Alaskans from exposure to secondhand smoke.
• Out of Alaska’s 54 public school districts, 41 now have tobacco-free policies in place
• The University of Alaska system tobacco-free policy on all campuses became complete
with the inclusion of the Chukchi campus in Kotzebue, the Juneau campus and the Sitka Campus
• Tobacco-free campus policies adopted include the Bethel Youth Facility, Prince of Wales Vocational and Technical Education Center, the Sitka Community Hospital, Juneau Alliance for Mental Health, Inc., Wrangell’s Alaska Vistas tour company and Kadin Corporation, and RurAL CAP enhanced their policy to include all residential programs.
• Smoke-free environment policies were adopted or strengthened at 14 behavioral health agencies, with most also prohibiting the use of electronic nicotine delivery systems (e-cigarettes) on their campus. There are 228 federally recognized tribes in Alaska, and currently 59 % – 134 - have adopted smoke-free and tobacco-free resolutions.
Youth engagement also occurs through education programs that provide opportunities for young people to foster leadership skills and connect in local, state, and national partnerships.
• The Alaska Association of Student Governments’ spring conference, with over 400 high school students, focused on dual health themes, “I Won’t Smoke Today,” and “One Breath at a Time”.
• RurAL CAPs Alaska Tobacco Control Alliance (ATCA) youth leaders spring training to plan for statewide outreach to decrease youth use of e-cigarettes and to show support for smoke-free policies.
• Nenana’s Railbelt Mental Health and Addictions’ “People In Need of Knowledge (PINK)” youth movement was Alaska’s representative to the national Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids annual symposium in Washington, DC.
• Nome’s Teens Against Tobacco Use (TATU) created community events for tobacco prevention outreach – their movie night drew in 300 community members and increased support for their work.
• Kenai Peninsula’s TATU group – one of the largest and most diverse in the state with more than 50 youth – engaged in peer-to-peer education opportunities as well as providing evidence of need for eliminating exposure to secondhand smoke.
These efforts are having an impact. According to Alaska Tobacco Facts Alaska has seen:
• 31% reduction in smoking prevalence among Alaska adults - 28% in 1996, now at 19% – THE LOWEST IT HAS EVER BEEN
• 70% reduction in youth smoking prevalence - 37% in 1995, now at 11% in 2015
• 61% reduction in annual cigarette packs sold per adult (50 packs in 2014 compared to 129 in 1996) – or 503 million fewer cigarettes sold in Alaska in 2014
• 93% of adults believe secondhand smoke is harmful
Alaska’s Tobacco Quit Line:alaskaquitline.com
State of Alaska: tobaccofree.alaska.gov
Kick Butts Day website:kickbuttsday.org
Tobacco 101: kickbuttsday.org/resources/
Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids: www.tobaccofreekids.org
Truth Initiative: truthinitiative.