Today, March 16, kick your smoking habit to the curb in observance of Kick Butts Day!
This annual event is a day of activism that empowers youth to stand out, speak up and seize control against tobacco use and the manufacturers of cigarettes and other tobacco-products.
“Most tobacco users pick up the habit as teenagers,” explained Susan Pulaski, Community Health Coordinator at the Health Department of Northwest Michigan. “That’s why it is so important to educate our youth about the dangers of tobacco use, and to encourage them to speak up to others against it.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), tobacco use is started primarily during adolescence.
Approximately 90% of cigarette smokers first tried smoking by the age of 18. Each day in the US, more than 3,800 teens smoke their first cigarette and 2,100 teens become daily cigarette smokers.
If this trend continues, about one of every 13 Americans ages 17 or younger will die early from a smoking-related illness.
Pulaski coordinates the SAFE in Northern Michigan coalition in Antrim, Charlevoix, and Emmet counties. Members of SAFE Youth include high school students who raise awareness of substance use and its consequences.
This year, they aim to educate their peers using the “Sticker Shock” campaign at local pizza places. They hope the stickers, which advertise the Michigan Tobacco Quitline, will motivate tobacco users to quit.
Although Kick Butts Day is targeted toward youth, all tobacco users—regardless of age—are urged to quit.
The Michigan Tobacco Quitline can be reached at (800) QUIT-NOW and is a valuable resource provided to all residents in the state.
In addition to the Health Department, local resources for tobacco education and cessation resources include Up North Prevention (a division of Catholic Human Services), McLaren Northern Michigan and Otsego Memorial Hospital.
To learn more about SAFE in Northern Michigan, contact Susan Pulaski at (231) 347-5813 or visit www.safeinnm.com.
Call (800) 432-4121 for more information about Health Department programs and services.
The Health Department of Northwest Michigan is mandated by the Michigan Public Health Code to promote wellness, prevent disease, provide quality healthcare, address health problems of vulnerable populations, and protect the environment for the residents and visitors of Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Otsego Counties.