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Fredonia students host Kick Butts Day 2019

Fredonia, Kan. - Fredonia FCCLA and Resist students hosted a Kick Butts Day, an annual celebration of youth leadership and activism in the fight against tobacco use. Students picked up tobacco waste and other litter at the Wilson County Fairgrounds, which included a baseball field, rodeo arena, fair barns, shelter, several parking lots and a playground area.

Wilson Medical Center received a mini-grant of $500 from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to help Wilson County Resist Chapters hold a Kick Butts Day event. WMC sponsored two of the 12 youth groups across Kansas who received funding to hold a local event.

"We had a lot of resistance from our peers when we first started the Fredonia Resist Chapter," said Erin Frenk, Freshman Resist Trainer. "But eventually, support started to grow. It was uplifting to see so many students come out to support the cause which they were once against!"

More than 500 cigarette butts were picked up at the fairgrounds along with several cans of chewing tobacco and vaping paraphernalia.

Youth advocates across the state have organized local events like Fredonia's to educate youth about the dangers of smoking and using e-cigarettes, and to encourage lawmakers to pass policies that prevent children and youth from access to tobacco products and exposure to secondhand smoke. The awareness campaign and events were kicked off on March 7 with Kick Butts Day at the Capitol, held by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network and Resist. Kick Butts Day was created by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and was first held in 1996. Over 1,000 Kick Butts Day events were held during the month of March in the United States and across the world. Both Neodesha and Fredonia Resist chapters plan to hold a joint Wilson County event in late 2019.

"Mrs. Tricia Couch and her team of students have been an absolute pleasure to work with! The conversation and movement stemming around tobacco prevention is a risky, controversial subject right now, and I applaud their hard work", says Erica Johnson, Manager of Community Health and Wellness at Wilson Medical Center. "Even more alarming is the lack of awareness surrounding e-cigarettes and vaping among our youth who aren't given the facts about nicotine and its harmful effects. That's why Wilson Medical Center has teamed up with our school districts to not target smokers themselves, but more so, Big Tobacco and their manipulating marketing tactics directed straight at youth."

"Preventing youth tobacco use and educating people about the dangers of all forms of tobacco and exposure to secondhand smoke is an important step toward a healthier community," said Mrs. Tricia Couch, FCCLA coordinator at Fredonia High School.

For more information about the Kick Butts Day event sponsored by Wilson Medical Center, contact Erica Johnson at ejohnson@wmcrc.org. For information on the national initiative, visit www.kickbuttsday.org.

Resist is a statewide, youth-led tobacco prevention initiative. Resist Chapters from across the state of Kansas are working to educate their peers, advocate for tobacco-free policies, and de-normalize tobacco use. For more information on Resist, visitwww.resisttobacco.org.

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