Take Down Tobacco National Day of Action
Also known as
Kick Butts Day (1996 to 2019)
Take Down Tobacco (since 2020)
the third Wednesday in March (since 1996)
Campaign For Tobacco-Free Kids in 1996
Take Down Tobacco National Day of Action is a day of activism when communities across the world—made up of students, parents, teachers, health professionals, elected leaders, and other advocates and concerned citizens—come together to make a push to eliminate youth tobacco use, to make the first tobacco-free generation. It is also known as Kick Butts Day, which was its original name when it was started by Campaign For Tobacco-Free Kids, the group that continues to organize it. Since it was first held in 1996, great progress has been made in kicking butts—the use of cigarettes among youth has gone down and cigarette smoking is at an all-time low—but in recent years, the use of e-cigarettes has skyrocketed, and progress in reducing tobacco use has been reversed. Hence there has been a shift from calling the day Kick Butts Day to calling it Take Down Tobacco National Day of Action.
As of 2020, rates of youth tobacco use are at a 20-year high on account of the increase of e-cigarette use to epidemic proportions, with one in four high school students using them. Youth are targeted with marketing, many appealing flavors of e-cigarettes are available, and the cigarettes contain high amounts of nicotine. Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, and its use isn't limited to cigarettes and e-cigarettes—it is consumed in cigars and as smokeless tobacco as well.
Eradicating youth tobacco use is a goal 365 days a year, but it culminates with the Take Down Tobacco National Day of Action. The day gives youth and their adult allies a platform to speak out against the tobacco industry and empowers them to do so. Events are organized in hundreds of communities, where awareness is raised about the problem of tobacco, youth are encouraged to reject the marketing of the tobacco industry and to stay tobacco-free, and elected officials are urged to take action to protect youth from tobacco. Common activities include anti-tobacco rallies, the picking up of cigarette butts, body bag or tombstone displays, and petition campaigns.
How to Observe Take Down Tobacco National Day of Action
You can take part in the day by attending a Take Down Tobacco National Day of Action event. Check online to see if any are taking place near you. You could also organize an event or activity in your community. Check the online activities database to get some ideas on what you could do. After planning your event, register it. Resources can also be found online, including fact sheets, webinars, shareable materials, logos, toolkits, and merchandise. If you are a smoker, you could redouble your efforts to quit, and if you know any youth who use tobacco products, you could talk to them about the importance of quitting. Finally, you could make a donation to the Campaign For Tobacco-Free Kids.