--Leadership in Fight Against Tobacco Recognized Nationally--
WASHINGTON, May 16, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Judy Hou, 18, of Midlothian, Virginia, has been named the Southern Region Youth Advocate of the Year by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids for her leadership in the fight against tobacco. Judy is being honored at a gala in the nation's capital on Thursday (May 17) along with a national winner, three other regional winners and a group winner.
Judy is a leader of Y Street, Virginia's award-winning youth anti-tobacco group. With Y Street, she has surveyed Virginians to demonstrate they want smoke-free restaurants, and helped lead the Meltdown campaign, which focused attention on dissolvable and other smokeless tobacco products. Based on her work, Judy was asked to present Meltdown's findings to the FDA's Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee, to Virginia's two U.S. senators and to Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.
Judy attended the FDA Youth Stakeholder meeting in Boston, as well as the FDA's Washington news conference to unveil new graphic warning labels for cigarettes. Since Y Street won the 2011 Youth Advocates of the Year Group Award, Judy has worked as the youth voice for media outreach on the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids' annual report on state prevention funding and for Kick Butts Day.
More than 400 public health, political, civic and business leaders will attend the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids' 16th annual gala in Washington, D.C., to recognize these young leaders. The winners will receive educational scholarships and grants to continue their prevention efforts and serve as ambassadors for the Campaign.
"Judy Hou and other young leaders from across the nation are making great strides in the fight against tobacco and their voices are being heard," said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. "Every day, 1,000 kids in the United States become regular smokers and one-third of them will die prematurely from tobacco-caused disease. Young leaders like Judy Hou play a critical role in preventing kids from smoking and reducing tobacco's terrible toll on our nation."
In Virginia, 19.7 percent of high school students smoke, and 8,700 kids become daily smokers every year. Every year, tobacco use kills 9,200 Virginia residents and costs the state $2.1 billion in health care bills. Nationally, tobacco use kills more than 400,000 people and costs the nation $96 billion in health care expenditures each year.
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