Asheville, NC— City Councilmember Cecil Bothwell spoke to Asheville teens at Pack Square on Saturday about the dangers of smoking tobacco as part of the annual “Kick Butts Day,” a nationwide event organized by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. Bothwell made his statement before the crowd departed for a two-mile walk through downtown to raise awareness about tobacco smoking among teens. Bothwell called tobacco both deadly and addictive, and he spoke directly to teens about the choices they would face:
As we grow through our teenage years we naturally test boundaries, its part of the development of an adult brain....Some young people here today will try tobacco, alcohol and other drugs. Recognizing that reality, I have a small bit of advice. You'll be a happier person twenty years from now if you avoid the most addictive drugs and the ones that are known to do the most physical damage to your body. Tobacco is both addictive and deadly. Tobacco is a killer.
According to the Center for Disease Control, more than 80 percent of adult smokers began smoking before turning 18. Currently, five percent of middle school students and nearly 20 percent of high school students report regularly smoking cigarettes.
Incumbent Cecil Bothwell is running for re-election for another four-year term on the Asheville City Council. Bothwell is an investigative reporter, builder, organic gardener and public servant. In addition, he leads a jail ministry affiliated with the Unitarian Universalist Church of Asheville.