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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 146-98
April 02, 1998

DEFENSE DEPARTMENT "KICK BUTTS DAY" ACTIVITY ANNOUNCED

Today, Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Gary Christopherson and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Manpower and Reserve Affairs Karen Heath will visit with and speak to two youth groups at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Fla. in support of the Third Annual "Kick Butts Day."

Welcoming Christopherson and Heath will be the youth groups, The Starbase Atlantis Program, a Department of Defense-sponsored program, and the Naval Kids Outreach Program Pensacola, a Navy-sponsored program who will be joining thousands of young people all over the country in an effort to show their opposition to the use of tobacco products by minors.

Today's activities in Pensacola are part of an effort by young people in nearly 300 cities from every state in the nation and in Puerto Rico and Korea. Other national activities today include remarks by Vice President Al Gore to students in Washington, DC's Hine Junior High school. Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala will join Cleveland-area students as they toss tobacco merchandise into dumpsters and Education Secretary Richard Riley will join Detroit-area students as they dump cigarette butts into a pool of water.

Across the country, public officials at all levels - including state attorneys general, mayors and state legislators - will stand up with America's kids in the fight against tobacco.

The DoD has long recognized the harmful effects that result both from the use of tobacco products and exposure to environmental tobacco smoke. It is DoD policy to provide all of its personnel with effective tobacco cessation programs and to protect them from the health hazards caused by exposure to tobacco smoke.

Tobacco cessation programs in the DoD take many different forms, and local installation commanders are authorized to implement whatever activities are appropriate to their sites and populations. Most bases offer some form of tobacco cessation classes, generally presented by personnel from the installation hospital or clinic, substance abuse counseling facility, or family service center.