There are many fewer teen smokers than there used to be.

Numbers are down to less than 20% in Weld County, where a few anti-smoking activities and events will be held in various high schools throughout March 18, 2015. That number is higher than the national or Colorado average, but it is still down from the past.

The tobacco companies remarkably managed to keep the question "Are cigarettes really bad for you?" alive through the 1960's, even though the Surgeon General officially linked health problems to smoking as early as 1957 and officially in 1964.

Ads and attitudes are showing the difference between how we used to feel about smoking and how we feel about it now. There are just a lot fewer adults that take part in the activity. This trickles right down to fewer kids taking part.

I do think we could be in the final throes of our insistence on being addicted to something so stupid. When I was a kid, I had to deal with advertisements glamorizing it, and my real life idols using it. All of them; my dad, my boss, older guys I looked up to, older guys I worked with, older kids in the neighborhood, almost every single one of them used snuff. So I used it and it lead to smoking.

I know one thing. I've never let the kids that look up to me see me doing something so stupid. And I'm not alone. Not only have real life role models stopped thumbing their nose at health and the amount of influence they have, but people have put Hollywood on notice as well.

Calling them unpaid spokespeople for big tobacco may have them rethinking whether or not they should smoke while cameras are rolling, or in big roles in the movies.

Great things are happening with this year's Kick Butts program.

This year, they are focusing attention on how the tobacco industry still spends huge sums on marketing and is adopting new strategies to reach young customers. Nationwide, tobacco companies spend $8.8 billion a year – one million dollars every hour – to market tobacco products. In Colorado, tobacco companies spend $123.1 million annually on marketing efforts. The industry’s tactics that entice kids include:

  • Splashy ads in magazines with large youth readership, such as Sports Illustrated, ESPN the Magazine and Rolling Stone.
  • Widespread advertising and price discounts in stores, which make tobacco products appealing and affordable to kids.
  • New, sweet-flavored tobacco products such as small cigars and electronic cigarettes. The latest surveys show that youth use of e-cigarettes has skyrocketed.