Students across SLO County are recognizing Kick Butts Day with flash mobs and dance performances.
Students across SLO County are recognizing Kick Butts Day with flash mobs and dance performances.

Students Speak Up Against Tobacco on "Kick Butts Day"

Author: Public Health Department
Date: 3/20/2018 2:51:19 PM

Flash mobs, photo booths, and school events put student voices front and center.


With events at six San Luis Obispo County middle schools on March 21, young people are dancing, filming, taking action and speaking up about the impact of tobacco marketing on their generation. The events are part of "Kick Butts Day," a national youth-led celebration of student leadership and activism against tobacco use.

"The power of this day is in the strong  voices of young people saying they won't be controlled by tobacco," said Inger Appanaitis, program manager for tobacco control for the County of San Luis Obispo. "The tobacco industry continually evolves to appeal to young people in different ways. Today, we're hearing youth say they're not falling for it. Our hope for these students is that they become the first generation to live free of tobacco—and that all the adults in our community support them in achieving that freedom."

The events are supported by the County of San Luis Obispo Tobacco Control program and Friday Night Live, in coordination with each school. Participating schools include Atascadero, Flamson, Laguna, Lewis, Los Osos, and Mesa Middle Schools.

According to the 2015–2016 California Healthy Kids Survey, 19 percent of San Luis Obispo eleventh graders had ever smoked a whole cigarette, a decrease from 36 percent in 2007-09. However, 39 percent had ever used e-cigarettes or other vaping device. These trends show that while cigarette use continues to decline, e-cigarettes pose an increased risk to young people's health.

The County of San Luis Obispo Tobacco Control program offers support and resources—including free Quit Smoking classes, group support, and nicotine replacement—for residents year-round. It also supports students through school-based initiatives.

Friday Night Live (FNL) is a place for young people to come together and make positive changes in their schools and communities. In SLO County, each middle and high school has a chapter of FNL.