WASHINGTON, May 1, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Darrien Skinner, 18, of Ingleside, Texas, has been named the Western Region Youth Advocate of the Year by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids for his leadership in the fight against tobacco. Darrien will be honored at a gala in the nation's capital on Thursday (May 2) along with a national winner, three other regional winners, a group winner and a military winner.
Darrien is a senior at Ingleside High School and became involved with tobacco control as a freshman through Students against Destructive Decisions (SADD). He has continued his work as an advocate with the Texas Teen Ambassadors (TTA) program, and he has presented at the state's regional tobacco summits and statewide conferences. He has also met with his state legislators to advocate for a statewide smoke-free air law.
Last summer, he represented Texas at the National Conference on Tobacco or Health in Kansas City, where he helped plan and implement an activism event in support of Missouri's ballot initiative to raise the tobacco tax. He has organized multiple Kick Butts Day events and trains his peers on how to meet with legislators and advocate for causes that they believe in.
More than 400 public health, political, civic and business leaders will attend the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids' 17th annual gala in Washington, D.C., to recognize these young leaders. The winners will receive educational scholarships and grants to continue their prevention efforts. They also serve as ambassadors for Tobacco-Free Kids.
"We are thrilled to honor Darrien as one of our Youth Advocates of the Year," said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. "Young leaders like Darrien bring energy, passion and creativity to our movement and inspire all of us to win the fight against the number one cause of preventable death."
In Texas, 17.4 percent of high school students smoke. Every year, 29,100 kids become daily smokers, and tobacco use kills 24,500 Texans and costs the state $5.8 billion in health care bills. Nationally, tobacco use kills more than 400,000 people and costs the nation $96 billion in health care expenditures annually.
The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is a leading force in the fight to reduce tobacco use and its deadly toll in the United States and around the world. Our vision: a future free of the death and disease caused by tobacco. We work to save lives by advocating for public policies that prevent kids from smoking, help smokers quit and protect everyone from secondhand smoke.
SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids