Display to show tobacco dangers

Shoes on City Hall lawn to represent deaths each day

A display at Columbus City Hall this week will aim to highlight dangers of tobacco use while encouraging young people to avoid smoking.

Thirty pairs of shoes will be on the lawn Wednesday during Kick Butts Day, representing the 30 Indiana residents who die each day from tobacco-related illnesses, said Kylee Jones, tobacco awareness coordinator with Healthy Communities.

Kick Butts Day is an annual celebration of youth leadership and activism against tobacco use sponsored by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, a nonprofit organization.

A 3- by 5-foot sign will accompany the “Fatal Figures” display until Thursday, explaining what it represents, Jones said.

“We wanted a place that would be very visible with a lot of traffic,” Jones said. “It’s a way for youths to get involved with tobacco awareness.”

Healthy Communities also works to raise awareness among young people on the dangers of smoking with programs in sixth-grade classrooms at St. Peter’s Lutheran School and in the Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp., Jones said.

About 11,100 adults in Indiana die annually from smoking, according to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids website.

“We’re hoping by seeing the display, it will resonate with kids to not start smoking,” she said.

Jones also said Healthy Communities hopes to continue a push for education locally. It is looking at bringing VOICE, a statewide youth empowerment brand based in Indianapolis, to the Bartholomew County 4-H Fair, she said.

VOICE describes its initiative “to engage, educate, and empower teens to celebrate a tobacco-free lifestyle,” according to its website.

Facts about smoking

More than 16 million Americans are living with a disease caused by smoking.

For every person who dies because of smoking, at least 30 people live with a serious smoking-related illness.

Smoking causes cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung diseases, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

Smoking also increases risk for tuberculosis, certain eye diseases, and problems of the immune system, including rheumatoid arthritis.

Smoking is also a known cause of erectile dysfunction in males.

Source: Centers for Disease Control

If you go

What: Kick Butts Day featuring a “Fatal Figures” display that includes 30 pairs of shoes to represent 30 Hoosiers who die each day due to tobacco-related illnesses

When: Wednesday

Where: On the lawn of Columbus City Hall, 123 Washington St.

More information: Visit kickbuttsday.org

Author photo
Matt Kent is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at 812-379-5712 or mkent@therepublic.com