RUSTON, LA – Louisiana ranks well above the national average in the number of teen smokers and has a growing vaping crisis. In response to this alarming trend, today, the Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living (TFL) educated the community, public officials and advocates about combatting tobacco use among youth during a Kick Butts Day event on the campus of Louisiana Technical University.
Kick Butts Day is a national day of activism that empowers youth to stand out, speak up and take a stand against Big Tobacco.
“The purpose of Kick Butts Day events is to raise awareness of the problem of tobacco use across all demographics, but particularly young people” said Tonia Moore, TFL Director. “We encourage middle school and high school-aged youth to reject the tobacco industry's deceptive marketing and stay tobacco-free, and we urge elected officials to take action to protect youth from tobacco,” said Tonia Moore, TFL Director. “We want to see our youth lead the way to toward a healthier future.
Ruston Mayor Ronny Walker spoke to the need for legislation in communities around the state that will protect citizens from second-hand smoke.
“Ruston has several healthy community initiatives. One example is the recent passing and implementation of our smoke-free ordinance.” said Walker. “With this legislation, Ruston became the 21st municipality in the state to adopt a comprehensive smoke-free policy and we encourage other communities to create their own road map to tobacco-free policies.”
Dr. Alex Billoux, Assistant Secretary of Health for the Office of Public Health-Louisiana, outlined some of the initiatives currently in place to curb smoking and vaping and shared the alarming statistics related to teen tobacco use:
- 12.3% of Louisiana's teens use tobacco, above the national average of 8.1%.
- Between 2015 and 2017, the use of e-cigarettes increased by 48.2% among Louisiana high school students and 65.4% among Louisiana middle school students.
- More than 2,000 young people in Louisiana become new daily smokers each year.
“It’s clear that if we are going to achieve a tobacco-free Louisiana, we have to start with protecting our youth,” said Dr. Billioux. “The Louisiana Department of Health partners with several organizations throughout the state to implement innovative approaches to curb youth tobacco use. Together with our partners, we will continue to move Louisiana’s health forward statewide.”
The keynote presentation by Alayna P. Tackett, PhD., a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Oklahoma Tobacco Research Center, presented her research on the popular youth tobacco product JUUL and the effects of vaping on youth.
For more information about tobacco-free initiatives, visit https://kickbuttsday.org or https://tobaccofreeliving.org.
The Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living
The Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living (TFL) engages in local and statewide tobacco control policy efforts that focus on tobacco prevention and initiation among youth, eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke, promote cessation services, and identify and eliminate tobacco-related disparities. TFL is guided by best practices in tobacco control, and envisions a healthier Louisiana by reducing the excessive burden of tobacco use on all Louisianans. For more information visit www.tobaccofreeliving.org. To find out more about the dangers of secondhand smoke and show your support for a smoke-free Louisiana, visit www.healthierairforall.org. To learn more about quitting tobacco, visit www.quitwithusla.org.
About the Louisiana Cancer Research Consortium (LCRC)
Founded by the Louisiana State Legislature in 2002, the LCRC is a public-private partnership designed to promote education about cancer and conduct important research on the diagnosis, detection, treatment, and prevention of cancer in Louisiana. The LCRC partners with the public at large and four major cancer research institutions in Louisiana: LSU Health, Tulane University, Ochsner Health System, and Xavier University. More information about the LCRC is available at www.louisianacancercenter.org.