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Kick Butts Day To Help Rid The State Of Pollution, Preventable Death

Walking along Mississippi’s roadways may remind pedestrians of an ashtray. Cigarette butts scattered over the state’s beautiful landscape are constant reminders of a sad statistic. More than 500,000 adults in Mississippi smoke cigarettes. Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States.

“I don’t think people really know how bad cigarettes are for us and our environment,” said Amy Winter, Director of the Office of Tobacco Control at the Mississippi State Department of Health. “Cigarette butts leach toxic chemicals and carcinogens that pollute the environment.  They’re poisonous to wildlife and can contaminate water sources.”

Smoking a cigarette and disposing of it improperly wreaks havoc on public health and the environment. That’s why Boerner, coalition officials, and dedicated students throughout the state participate in the annual Kick Butts Day. During this national day of activism on March 15, thousands of youth around the world speak out and stand up to the tobacco industry. As part of this year’s Kick Butts Day celebration, the Mississippi Tobacco-Free Coalition of Grenada, Yalobusha, and Calhoun Counties will help kids learn about the harsh contaminants of butts after spending hours picking up after litterers.

“Every year our appearance alone makes a difference,” said Gabby Simpson, Youth Advisory Board member of Generation Free, Mississippi’s youth-led movement against big tobacco. “People see us picking up cigarette butts, and they learn facts about the effect on the environment and our mission. This is how we educate and eradicate.”

Simpson is one of many young activists in the state taking part in a variety of tobacco prevention activities during the school year through the Mississippi State Department of Health’s local tobacco-free coalitions. The youth teams get a chance to work with elected leaders to develop policies that reduce youth tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke and educate their peers about the risks of tobacco use.

Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, killing approximately 480,000 people every year. This is more than AIDS, alcohol, car accidents, illegal drugs, murders, and suicides combined. 

Each year, 3,300 Mississippi kids under the age of 18 become new, daily smokers. And 68,000 Mississippi kids now under 18 will ultimately die prematurely from smoking, according to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

For more information about Kick Butts Day events in Grenada, Yalobusha, and Calhoun Counties or for tobacco cessation information, contact Sue Mashburne at 662-226-2589, visit or follow the movement on Facebook at

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