The 84 Movement took to the State House on March 18th as a part of the 20th annual Kick Butts Day. This national day of youth activism mobilized the highest number of Massachusetts youth groups in The 84 Movement’s history.
The day began with an opening session in the Gardner Auditorium at the State House, where youth rallied together and generated excitement about the day ahead. Geared up and ready to go, the youth marched across the Boston Common with bright signs and loud voices chanting “We are The 84, Big Tobacco out the door!” and “Youth youth youth, shout out the truth!”. They sent the message to Boston passersby know that they were headed back into the Massachusetts State House to tell their legislators that Big Tobacco targets youth.
The messages Chapters delivered to their legislators centered around tobacco industry’s marketing tactics: making their products cheap, sweet, and easy to get. Youth explained that the FDA does not regulate e-cigarettes and a significant portion of the state lacks regulations to create a minimum purchase age for e-cigarettes. They also educated their legislators as to the lack of regulation around e-cigarettes in the workplace, wide-ranging flavors of e-cigarettes, and the sale of cigars and cigarillos for under a dollar. Statewide Leaders shared personal stories, legislators shared powerful testimony and commitment to the issue, and we all walked away with a sense of excitement and purpose.
This year’s Kick Butts Day was rich with unparalleled energy, excitement, and enthusiasm for fighting the tobacco industry and for educating MA legislators on their role in that fight. Numerous legislators and public health leaders spoke of their personal connections to this issue and publicly recognized the tremendous work of The 84’s youth. Also present to acknowledge The 84’s accomplishments and hard work was CVS, who removed all tobacco products from their shelves last year in hopes of holding true to their mission of being a wellness retailer.