--Leadership in Fight Against Tobacco Recognized Nationally--
WASHINGTON, May 16, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Members of Reality Check, New York's teen-led tobacco prevention organization, have been named Youth Advocates of the Year by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids for their leadership in the fight against tobacco. The group is being honored with the national group award at a gala in the nation's capital on Thursday (May 17) along with a national winner and four regional winners.
Reality check members Megan Rogers, Caeli Faisst, Abby Hastings and Nikki Lydford are from Madison, Oneida and Herkimer counties. Reality Check works to eliminate point-of-sale marketing in stores frequented by youth, and campaigns to eliminate smoking from youth-rated movies, as well as from television shows and websites popular with teens.
The group created the film Change, which examines at the history of tobacco marketing and shows how the industry continues to market to youth. The film helped the group to convince the Madison County Board of Supervisors to draft a policy banning tobacco point-of-sale displays. The film also was featured at 2011 World No Tobacco Day activities in New York, and is used in communities throughout New York and California.
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.
"Members of Reality Check 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 Reality Check members play a critical role in preventing kids from smoking and reducing tobacco's terrible toll on our nation."
In New York, 12.6 percent of high school students smoke, and 22,500 kids become daily smokers every year. Every year, tobacco use kills 25,400 New York residents and costs the state $8.2 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