Kick Butts Day events aim to cut back on teen vaping

In this April 11, 2018, file photo, a high school student uses a vaping device near a school campus in Cambridge, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — March 20 is Kick Butts Day, and no, it's not about starting fights with your enemies.

For the 24th year, this day calls for ending smoking, but this year, there's a new focus: e-cigarettes.

According to Campaign for Tobacco-Free kids, traditional teen smoking has dropped. But the work to end smoking is not finished. E-cigarette use increased 78 percent last year. More than 1 in 5 students are vaping. In 2018 alone, more than 3.6 million middle and high school students were vaping. The increase is so steep, U.S. health leaders have called it an "epidemic."

With the popularity of products like Juul is steadily rising, it can be easy for kids to brush aside their harmful effects. While e-cigarettes can be less harmful than cigarettes (they generally contain fewer toxic chemicals), they are certainly not safe, especially for teens.

The aerosol vapers breathe from e-cigarettes is not water vapor. It contains chemicals like nicotine, which is highly addictive, and diacetyl, which has been linked to lung disease, according to the CDC.

E-cigarette use during youth has also been linked to traditional smoking tobacco in the future.

There are a number of Kick Butts Day events being held around central Indiana to raise awareness.

  • Kick Butts Day at IUPUI: 420 University Blvd., Indianapolis; Seairah Delaney: 812-360-2004
  • Heritage Christian School Kick Butts Day: 6401 E. 75th St., Indianapolis; Andi Miller: 317-221-3007
  • We Glow Without Lighting Up Pledge: 1575 Mulberry St., Zionsville; Glenn Sanford: 317-873-6670
  • Kick Butts 2019 Franklin: 101 N. Hurricane St., Franklin; Susan Sahm: 317-736-3695
  • Pick-up Butta: 1011 Highpointe Blvd., Shelbyville; Elizabeth Clark: 317-364-5134
  • Shelbyville video campaign: 54 W. Broadway St., Shelbyville; Elizabeth Clark: 317-364-5134
  • Post Card Party: 6317 Martin Luther King Blvd., Anderson; Clay Sexton: 765-640-5300
  • Kick Butts Day Anderson: 101 W. 29th St., Anderson; Angie Bingaman: 765-649-8472
  • Clinton County Kicks Butts: 1458 Oak St., Ste. B, Frankfort; Emily Bossung: 765-659-6063

For the entire list of Kick Butts Day events across the state and country, click here.