Kicking butts with 1,200 shoes

A barely worn pair of black Bernardo pumps hangs by the heels over the edge of a storage barrel adorned with anti-tobacco messages in a hallway at Douglas High School. A toe tag, more commonly seen on corpses featured in a "CSI" episode, is tied onto the pumps. "Nicotine is as addictive as heroin and cocaine," is the message on the tag.

The pumps are one of 1,200 pairs of shoes marching to the Legislature on Kick Butts Day, March 28, to help visualize the fact that 1,200 Americans die each day due to tobacco-related illnesses.

Organized through the Partnership of Community Resources, Youth Advocates for Prevention is the group of Carson Valley and Alpine County students rounding up the shoes for Kick Butts Day.

"We hope to get lawmakers to recognize that one dollar prevention saves $2-$20 in treatment," said Melinda Matus of the partnership. "The money they're doling out isn't enough for treatment."

Besides Douglas, storage barrels have been set up at Pau-Wa-Lu and Carson Valley middle schools and the Douglas County Public Library as part of the Youth Advocates for Prevention Project 1200.

The Valley's goal is to collect 400 pairs of shoes to be grouped with shoes collected by the American Lung Association in Reno and Resist in Carson City, for a grand total of 1,200. If the shoes have no other dates on their dance card, they will be donated to charity.

The last day to donate shoes is Feb. 15. For more information on Project 1200, go to or contact the Partnership of Community Resources at or 782-8611.

Tobacco Use in Nevada from Tobacco Free Kids:

-- High School students who smoke: 18.3 percent

-- Children exposed to secondhand smoke at home: 84,000

-- Packs of cigarettes bought or smoked by children each year: 4.8 million

-- Adults in Nevada who smoke: 23.1 percent (414,300)

-- Adults who die each year from smoking: 3,100

-- Adults, children and babies who die each year from secondhand smoke and smoking during pregnancy: 330-590

-- Annual health care costs in Nevada directly caused by smoking: $565 million


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