Campus News

University Health Service and Tobacco-free Task Force Kick Butts

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 11, 2016) – Kick Butts Day, an annual event to increases awareness about the impact of tobacco use at the University of Kentucky and throughout Kentucky, will take place April 12 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the Rose Street walkway (or April 14 if there is rain).

Kentucky has the highest incidence and mortality rates of lung cancer; each year an estimated 8,900 people in the state of Kentucky die from complications related to tobacco use. Unfortunately, that number continues to grow so University Health Service and the Tobacco-Free Task Force are educating students and staff about tobacco use and resources at UK that can help them quit.

A visual representation of the people who lost their lives to tobacco will be displayed on Kick Butts Day. A white sheet will feature thousands of handprints, with each colored hand representing five lives lost each year to tobacco. Black handprints represent the 20 percent of UK students who use tobacco products. Students and employees will have the opportunity to add their hand prints as well. It is important for the UK community to recognize how the consequences of tobacco use touch their lives.

Seth Riker, marketing and communications manager for the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, knows firsthand about quitting smoking. On Oct. 24, 2015, after smoking on and off for 10 years, Seth decided it was time to quit. With the help of Jackie Hanson at LiveWell he did. He said, "She [Jackie] connected me with free nicotine replacement therapy, specifically lozenges and patches, offered advice on combating cravings, dealing with stress in productive ways and, overall, was a great person to have in my corner."

A free app, "Quit Now," helps Seth track his progress and see how quitting smoking is paying off, "It tells me I am 156 days smoke-free, I’ve added 26 days to my life and saved $448."

Information on UK’s tobacco-free policy, the health risks associated with electronic cigarettes and tobacco treatment resources will be shared. In addition, students are encouraged to play games and answer tobacco related trivia and enjoy free lemonade, granola bars and ice cream at the event. The first 100 students to participate in the interactive games will receive free t-shirts.

For information about UK’s quitting resources, tobacco-free policy and how to volunteer as a Tobacco-free Take Action! Ambassador go to

UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: #uk4ky #seeblue

Media Contact: Olivia McCoy,, 859-257-1076