Get ready to Kick Butts

  • Published
  • By Joseph Gonzalez
  • 4th Aerospace Medicine Squadron

Kick Butts Day is a national day of activism that empowers youth to speak up and take action against Big Tobacco at hundreds of events from coast to coast.  On March 16, students from all over the country will actively Stand Out, Speak Up, and Seize Control of the laundry list of health problems associated with tobacco use.

No longer will the youth of the nation stand for big tobacco and their attempt to directly market to them for which the tobacco industry has labeled as “replacement smokers.”  One of the many ways that teachers, youth leaders, military members, and we here at Health Promotions at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina are combating this problem is speaking out on social media with using hashtags such as #NotAReplacement and #iKickButts in the comments sections and on our photos.

Tobacco use kills more than 480,000 Americans and costs the nation more than $132.5 billion in health care bills each year.  Tobacco use takes a huge toll on a member’s health, lives, and dollars in every state.  This is not just an adult problem.  Over 5.6 million kids in the U.S. under the age of 18 alive today will ultimately die from tobacco use.  There are over 600,000 annual deaths worldwide that are linked directly to secondhand smoking.

Tobacco use negatively impacts you and your unit’s readiness.  Smokers have decreased night vision, wound healing, stamina, mental acuity, fine motor coordination, ability to deal with stress, and lung capacity; additionally, tobacco use has been linked to increased injury rates. 

Chewing tobacco is just as harmful as smoking it. Users can experience similar health issues such as increased fatigue, muscle weakness, and dizziness, along with having decreased physical performance and the ability to deal with stress.

There are a ton of resources here at Seymour Johnson AFB if you or anyone else would like to learn more about tobacco cessation.  Tobacco cessation can start by having a conversation with your medical provider or with the Internal Behavioral Health Consultant, Lindsey Henderson, Psy. D, to outline a plan and on your way to #iKickButts! Other resources include downloading’s quitSTART App for your mobile device to set you up with the social support you need to finally be tobacco free. 

TRICARE beneficiaries are covered as well.  You don’t need to be diagnosed with a tobacco-related illness to use tobacco cessation benefits.  TRICARE offers online counseling, coverage for pharmacological treatment and support.  You can access materials, self-help support, a self-paced quit program, and live online chat cessations from tobacco cessation coaches 24 hours a day, seven days a week by visiting or you can call their 24 hour toll-free support number at 1-866-459-8766.