Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids Honors Nataanii Hatathlie of Kirtland, NM As Youth Advocate of the Year

May 16, 2012, 10:57 ET from Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids Honors Nataanii Hatathlie of Kirtland, NM As Youth Advocate of the Year

--Leadership in Fight Against Tobacco Recognized Nationally--

WASHINGTON, May 16, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Nataanii Hatathlie, 18, of Kirtland, New Mexico, 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. Nataanii 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.


Nataanii is president of his school's Dine Youth Council, which promotes tobacco-free lifestyles, and a leader of Evolvement, the statewide youth tobacco control group. With Evolvement, Nataanii participated in the Meltdown campaign to raise awareness about dissolvable and other smokeless tobacco products, as well as a program to raise awareness about the impact of smoking in movies.

Most recently, he's worked to promote tobacco-free homes and cars. As a member of the Navajo Nation, Nataanii has spoken frequently about tobacco to students in Navajo communities. Last summer he worked with the executive office of the Navajo Nation to plan the first ever youth summit, which drew 200 youth. He attended the FDA Youth Stakeholders meeting in Boston and will present on the Meltdown campaign at the 2012 National Conference on Tobacco or Health.

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.

"Nataanii Hatathlie 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 Nataanii Hatathlie play a critical role in preventing kids from smoking and reducing tobacco's terrible toll on our nation."

In New Mexico, 24 percent of high school students smoke, and 2,100 kids become daily smokers every year. Every year, tobacco use kills 2,100 New Mexico residents and costs the state $461 million 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.

CONTACT: Ashley Trentrock, +1-202-296-5469

SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids