OBJH Students Sign Pledge to be Tobacco Free

As part of Kick Butts Day, students at Oakland Bay Junior High signed a pledge Wednesday to be the first tobacco-free generation. The signed banner will be on display in the school commons.

MasonWebTV Powered by HCC talked with Melanie Sanders, one of the members of the Shelton SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) Club, about the event.

This year, national Kick Butts Day, sponsored by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, is focusing attention on how tobacco companies are enticing kids with a growing market of sweet-flavored products such as electronic cigarettes and cigars, threatening to addict a new generation. These products have proved popular with kids. From 2011 to 2015, e-cigarette use among high school students jumped from 1.5 percent to 16 percent nationwide, and more kids now use e-cigarettes than regular cigarettes. In addition, more high school boys now smoke cigars than cigarettes. E-cigarettes and cigars are sold in a wide assortment of candy and fruit flavors, such as gummy bear, cotton candy and fruit punch.

Tobacco companies also continue to spend huge sums to market cigarettes and smokeless tobacco, much of it reaching kids. Nationwide, tobacco companies spend $9.1 billion a year – one million dollars every hour – on marketing. In Washington, tobacco companies spend $88.4 million annually on marketing efforts.

In Washington, tobacco use claims 8,300 lives and costs $2.81 billion in health care bills each year. Currently, 7.9 percent of Washington’s high school students smoke.