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Kentucky Communities Take Part in 'Kick Butts Day' March 20

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Communities across Kentucky will join a national event on March 20 aimed at discouraging the use of  e-cigarettes and tobacco.

National 'Kick Butts Day' is a day of activism organized by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

More than 1,000 events will be held across the U.S., with the main focus on getting young people to kick the e-cigarette habit, especially Juul, which looks like a computer flash drive and comes in appealing flavors like mango, fruit and mint.

In Bowling Green, Western Kentucky University will host a campus-wide 'Cigarette Butt Clean Up Day.'

In Eddyville, high school students from the group Champions for a Drug Free Lyon County will display shoes representing those who have died as a result of tobacco use.

In a follow-up event on March 27, Monroe County CARES and the CARES Youth Prevention Ambassadors in Tompkinsville  will create a visual display to air out Big Tobacco’s 'dirty laundry' at the courthouse.

In Kentucky, 14 percent of high school students said they used e-cigarettes. That compares to the national rate of 13 percent.

When it comes to traditional cigarettes, 14 percent of Kentucky high school students said they smoke those. That compares to the national rate of nine percent.

E-cigarettes pose serious health risks for young people. The U.S. Surgeon General has found that use of nicotine in any form, including e-cigarettes,  is unsafe for young people. Nicotine causes addiction and can harm the developing adolescent brain and affect learning, memory and attention. Studies also show that young people who use e-cigarettes are more likely to become cigarette smokers.

Rhonda Miller began as reporter and host for All Things Considered on WKU Public Radio in 2015. She has worked as Gulf Coast reporter for Mississippi Public Broadcasting, where she won Associated Press, Edward R. Murrow and Green Eyeshade awards for stories on dead sea turtles, health and legal issues arising from the 2010 BP oil spill and homeless veterans.
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