Community editor and columnist Kris Capps is a longtime resident of Fairbanks and Denali Park. Contact her at, in the office at 459-7546 or by cell at 322-6334. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMKris.

FAIRBANKS — Six Fairbanks schools and Nenana School participated in Kick Butts Day last week. This is a national day of activism, sponsored by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. The goal is to empower youth to speak up against tobacco use.

Activities in Fairbanks included students reading tobacco facts over morning announcements and filling out selfie posters stating reasons why they, personally, are #NotAReplacement smoker. According to the American Lung Association of Alaska, tobacco kills 1,300 Americans every day. Those tobacco users are often replaced by teens, dubbed “replacement smokers.”

Each day, according to the organization, 2,800 kids younger than 18 try smoking for the first time and another 700 become regular smokers.

Alaska students who participated in Kick Butts Day each signed a pledge and took selfies declaring why he or she is not a #NotAReplacment smoker.

Schools that participated included Ryan Middle School, Tanana Middle School, Randy Smith Middle School, West Valley High School, Lathrop High School and Monroe Catholic School. An estimated 1,000 students signed pledge posters to #BeTheFirst tobacco-free generation. These posters will be displayed across the district in the weeks to come.

Reach columnist/community editor Kris Capps at Call her at the office 459-7546. Follow her on Twitter @FDNMKris.