Kick Butts Day focused on reducing youth e-cigarette use

Wednesday was the 24th annual Kick Butts Day, sponsored by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. This year’s emphasis was to reduce the use of Juul.

“It’s hard to design a more kid-friendly tobacco product,” said Gustavo Torrez, Director of Youth Advocacy with the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “Juul is small and it looks like a computer flash drive, so it’s easy to hide. It comes in flavors like mango and mint and it delivers a really powerful dose of nicotine. In fact, each Juul pod delivers as much nicotine as a pack of cigarettes.”

E-cigarette use among high school students rose by an alarming 78 percent in 2018 alone.

“If you look at some of the earlier ads with Juul specifically, with the youthful faces and the bright colorful marketing, there’s no denying that this was really geared toward young people,” said Torrez.

Studies show kids who use e-cigarettes are more likely to become cigarette smokers.

“While they’ve switched some of their marketing scheme, the damage has already been done,” said Torrez. “Across this country, youth e-cigarette rates are over 20 percent as a whole. In Kansas, the rates aren’t as high, but it’s something that we really have to keep an eye on.”

Kids in Kansas use these products at about 10.6 percent.