Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Lakewood High School Students Use Art to Kick Butts

This year’s Kick Butts Day was the biggest in history with over 1,300 events across the country. In Jefferson County, one of those events took place at Lakewood High School (LHS). Hannah Bendiksen, a National Art Honor Society student at LHS, created a powerful art piece to display at the school for Kick Butts Day. Students that visited the booth where Hannah’s art was displayed learned about Kick Butts Day – a day when youth are encouraged and empowered to stand out, speak up and seize control against Big Tobacco.

Left: Hannah Bendiksen stands next to her artwork for Kick Butts Day. Hannah’s message is that when one smokes, they hold more in their hands than a cigarette. She hopes that her art causes pause and sparks an understanding, if not a full desire for change. Right: Students prepare their statements for a speak-out against Big Tobacco.

The students who viewed Hannah’s art also learned about how the tobacco industry focuses on youth and young adult populations with their deceptive marketing tactics and how youth are three times more sensitive to tobacco marketing than adults. The students were then able to make a statement to speak out against big tobacco. One student wrote, “Get a life and stop stealing ours!” Another student pronounced “We should stop production altogether. Smoking kills and it puts an emotional burden not only on the one who smokes, but the ones who are exposed to it every day.”

A recent report of the Surgeon General states that nearly all tobacco use begins in youth and young adulthood and that young adults are a prime target for tobacco advertising and marketing activities. It is clear that young people have something to say about being the prime targets for tobacco advertising and want to take a stand. There is an urgent need to continue engaging youth and young adults in standing up and speaking out against tobacco companies. Tobacco companies know who composes the next generation of smokers. Youth in Jefferson County are saying no. Click here to read more in an article from the Lakewood Sentinel.

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