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1:56 AM Fri, Oct. 19th

KYCBUTT group steps up anti-tobacco activities during "Remember November" month

Members of KYCBUTT (Kingman Youth Coalition Beating Up Teen Tobacco), in connection with the "Great American Smokeout," have planned a series of activities this month to help educate their peers on the dangers of smoking or chewing tobacco.

Sponsored by the Mohave County Tobacco Use Prevention Program (McTUPP) the 18-member KYCBUTT group works to fight youth tobacco use.

"We are stepping up our efforts this month," Sarah Acer, a Kingman High School senior and the KYCBUTT youth coordinator, said.

"We are planning special activities during November."

The first activity during "Remember November" took place Thursday morning when members of KYCBUTT met in the Kingman High School North cafeteria.

From there the group fanned the campus putting up bright orange stickers in restrooms.

On the stickers are printed the words: "Your pee contains urea.

Thanks to tobacco companies, so do cigarettes.

Enjoy."

Acer explained that urea is found in urine but is also synthetically produced and is one of thousands of chemicals found in cigarettes.

"Some students smoke, and some chew tobacco," Acer said.

"They don't realize that chewing tobacco is just as harmful as smoking it."

Terri Holloway, the McTUPP Kingman site coordinator, said cigarette companies add 599 ingredients to tobacco.

"There are 4,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke.

Fifty of those are carcinogenic," Holloway said "Spit tobacco also contains carcinogenic chemicals."

On Wednesday the KYCBUTT group will hand out stop-smoking kits - containing gum, candy, a stress ball and anti-smoking literature - during lunch.

Then on Friday, the group will hand out "KYC-BUTT Gear" to teachers including posters, stickers and other items.

On Nov.

21 - "Great American Smokeout" day - KYCBUTT members will hold a merchandise exchange during both lunches.

"Students can bring us a jacket with a cigarette company logo," Acer said.

"We will replace it with a KYCBUTT sweatshirt."

All jackets collected will then be sent to one of the major cigarette companies in protest of advertising aimed at teenagers.

The following day, Nov.

22, Cathy Danielson, who developed throat cancer from smoking cigarettes, will speak to all health class students during second hour.

KYCBUTT members might also conduct a sit-in wearing their "Butt Out" hats and participate in other activities such as distributing anti-smoking literature at local schools, Acer said.

In August Acer and eight KYCBUTT members visited 28 liquor stores, small markets, chain convenience stores and supermarkets in the Kingman area to conduct a survey regarding the advertising and placement of tobacco products.

"Most stores we surveyed were about in the middle as far as compliance," Acer said.

"Some stores where better then others."

Parents of the youth who conducted the survey were sent a letter stating that more than 400,000 people in the United States die each year of tobacco-related causes.

"How do they replace these former smokers? The answer always has been to spend millions of dollars on advertising directed to children and adolescents," the letter stated.

One image that stayed with the youth of America and caused a sharp increase in smoking among children was Joe Camel.

"It was a 'cool' character, and kids wanted to be cool," said Lisa Kelly, a KYCBUTT adult coordinator.

"If the cigarette companies can get children hooked by the age of 10, rather than the age of 20, they have someone who is addicted for that much longer.

"A child can then become addicted for life.

Nicotine is as addictive as heroine.

It is one of the hardest addictions to break," Kelly said.

"More than 3,000 children start smoking each day.

Many kids will say they are just experimenting, but 90 percent of adult smokers become addicted when they are just teenagers."

The letter goes on to say that the tobacco industry currently spends more than $6.4 billion a year on advertising tobacco products to children in the United States.

For more information on KYCBUTT activities, or to receive stop-smoking kits for employees during the "Great American Smokeout," contact McTUPP at 753-0794 Ext.

4165 or 4217.