Today, youth, teachers, and advocates across the nation are standing up and speaking out for Kick Butts Day to raise awareness of the problems created by tobacco use in their community, to encourage youth to be tobacco-free, and to urge elected officials to protect kids from tobacco. Kentucky has the second highest rate of high school smokers in the nation at approximately 17%, and 2,900 Kentucky kids become new daily smokers each year. One proven solution to end teen tobacco use does exist, however—increasing Kentucky’s tobacco tax by at least $1.

Though the Kentucky Kick Butts Day rally in Frankfort, organized by the Coalition for a Smoke-free Tomorrow and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, has been cancelled due to weather, a couple of youth advocates share their call to make Kentucky tobacco free with their peers, communities, and elected leaders below:

“Tobacco has negatively affected the lives of many Kentuckians and our generation is ready to put a stop to its reign of terror. It is crucial to stand up for policies we believe in now, such as a higher tobacco tax, to ensure that we pave the road for the future we want to see for ourselves and generations to come.” – Nellie, a sophomore from Whitley County


Quitting smoking provides enormous health benefits, but some smoking-caused damage simply cannot be reversed. 119,000 Kentucky kids will die prematurely in adulthood from smoking if we don’t act now to reduce the rate. Increasing the tobacco tax has been proven to be the most cost-effective way to reduce tobacco use, especially among young people. An increase in the tobacco tax can make a difference; it can save lives.” – Sierra, a sophomore from Lincoln County

Teenagers, pregnant women, and newborns in Kentucky would see substantial health benefits and the Commonwealth would see decreased future tobacco related health costs from an increase of at least $1 in the tobacco tax. Take action by asking your state elected leaders to increase Kentucky’s tobacco tax by at least $1 HERE.