WASHINGTON, May 13, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Madison Larimore, 17, has been named the Central Region Youth Advocate of the Year by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids for her leadership in the fight against tobacco. Madison will be honored at a gala in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, May 14.
Madison is currently working on a campaign to increase funding for tobacco prevention programs in Nebraska. She previously participated in campaigns to make parks smoke-free and raise Nebraska's tobacco tax. She worked on efforts to regulate all tobacco products, which resulted in a state ban on the sale of e-cigarettes to minors and adoption of policies regulating the placement of tobacco products in retail stores. Madison also collaborated with her school system to prohibit the use of new tobacco products on school campuses and ensure her peers learned about these new products.
"We are thrilled to honor Madison as our Central Region Youth Advocate of the Year," said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. "Young leaders like Madison are changing minds and getting results – both by convincing their peers to reject tobacco and spurring elected officials to take action. With their help, we can make the next generation tobacco-free."
Over 400 public health, business, civic and political leaders will attend the gala to recognize Madison, three additional regional award winners, one national winner and one group winner. The winners will receive scholarships to continue their prevention efforts and will also serve as youth ambassadors for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.
Tobacco use is the No. 1 cause of preventable death in the United States, killing more than 480,000 Americans and costing the nation about $170 billion in health care bills each year. Without strong action now, 5.6 million kids alive today will die prematurely from tobacco-caused disease, according to the U.S. Surgeon General.
In Nebraska, tobacco use kills 2,500 people and costs the state $795 million in health care expenses each year. Currently, 10.9 percent of the state's high school students smoke.