WASHINGTON, May 1, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Members of Show-Me PALS, Missouri's youth-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. They will be honored with the national Group Award at a gala in the nation's capital on Thursday (May 2) along with a national winner, four regional winners, and a military winner.
Madison Kellums, 16, of Arbyrd; Daniel Guiffra, 17, of Chesterfield; and Becky Bade, 15, and Alyssa Bradley, 15, of New Bloomfield serve on the group's statewide Youth Advisory Board and will be accepting the award.
Show-Me PALS (People Advocating Living Smoke-free) engages youth activists across Missouri. Members of the Youth Advisory Board have worked in their communities and schools to protect others from secondhand smoke, provide cessation services to English-as-a-Second-Language residents, build support for tobacco-free school grounds and other community policies to reduce tobacco use, and plan creative activities to promote a tobacco-free lifestyle.
To empower Missouri youth to stand up to tobacco, the members of the Youth Advisory Board have presented at national and statewide conferences, led Missouri youth in supporting a 2012 ballot initiative to increase the state tobacco tax and planned and implemented an advocacy day at the state Capitol.
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 Show-Me PALS as this year's group winner," said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. "Young leaders like the Show-Me PALS 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 Missouri, 18.1 percent of high school students smoke. Every year, 8,000 kids become daily smokers, and tobacco use kills 9,500 Missourians and costs the state more than $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 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