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Kids Kick Butts In Tobacco Wars

Every day, 6,000 kids smoke cigarettes for the first time, and 3,000 become regular smokers. One-third of these regular smokers will die prematurely from smoking-related disease. But on April 5 young people nation-wide fight back on Kick Butts Day. The Early Show reports.

On Kick Butts Day, kids take a turn as leaders in the fight against tobacco, organizing creative events that highlight the dangers of tobacco use and the tobacco industry's manipulative marketing practices.

Prominent Americans, including First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala, Washington Redskins star Darrell Green, Olympic figure skating champion and Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids spokesperson Tara Lipinski, and U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher will join them.

This event comes just two weeks after tobacco was thrust back into the headlines by the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's authority to regulate tobacco products. While ruling 5-4 that the FDA currently does not have authority to regulate tobacco, including restricting marketing and sales to kids, the Court put the spotlight on Congress to act by calling tobacco use, particularly among children and adolescents, "perhaps the single most significant threat to public health in the United States."

Kick Butts Day will also focus attention on state legislators across the country as they continue to debate using money from the $246 billion tobacco settlement for tobacco prevention programs.

At the political convention-style National Kick Butts Day Kick-off in Washington, D.C., kids will tell the next President of the United States what they think should be done to protect them from tobacco. And in New York City, the First Lady and Public Advocate Mark Greene will attend a middle school rally, where students will perform their own raps and poems about tobacco.

This campaign is the largest non-governmental initiative ever undertaken to reduce youth tobacco use in the United States.

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