WASHINGTON, Sept. 22, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, Legacy, the nation's largest public health organization dedicated to preventing teens from smoking and providing resources to smokers who want to quit, announced the appointment of Ritney Castine as Youth Board Liaison to its Board of Directors. Every 18 months, Legacy selects a Youth Board Liaison from a group of tobacco control youth advocates who have previously or are currently serving the organization.
Castine, 24, from Napoleonville, LA, is currently the Youth and Community Programs Coordinator with the Louisiana Tobacco Control Program. In his role, he has overseen the implementation of nine community partnership grants. He also plans youth activities in coordination with the Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living. In addition to his public health work on tobacco, he has worked on substance abuse, AIDS, teen pregnancy, teen violence, and literacy issues.
"The future of tobacco control begins with young people," said Cheryl G. Healton, DrPH, President and CEO of Legacy. "Ritney has traveled across the country energizing, empowering, and advocating for youth of all backgrounds against the ills of tobacco use and we are grateful to have his enthusiasm as a valued asset to our Board of Directors."
A recent graduate of Southern University with a degree in political science, Castine has been involved with tobacco control since 1999 when he first joined the Boys and Girls Club. In 2003, he was chosen as South Region Youth Advocate of the Year for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. He founded Peers Against Tobacco in Assumption Parish, Louisiana and served as the group's president for two years. He was also recognized by Louisiana's Attorney General as the Louisiana Youth Advocate of the Year and by the state Office of Public Health as its Youth Advocate of the Year two years in a row. Since 2007, Castine has worked with the Louisiana Tobacco Control Program. He has successfully lobbied and testified at the Louisiana State Legislature and has spoken on the floor of the Louisiana Senate.
"A smoking section in a restaurant is like a urinating section in a swimming pool – we don't want to have either," said Ritney at an anti-second-hand-smoke rally. "I got involved in tobacco prevention and control efforts after one of my close family members died of lung cancer and I am excited at this opportunity to work with an organization that does such great work in preventing youth from starting to smoke and building a world where anyone can quit."
Legacy® is dedicated to building a world where young people reject tobacco and anyone can quit. Located in Washington, D.C., the national public health organization helps Americans live longer, healthier lives. Legacy develops programs that address the health effects of tobacco use, especially among vulnerable populations disproportionately affected by the toll of tobacco, through grants, technical assistance and training, partnerships, youth activism, and counter-marketing and grassroots marketing campaigns. The foundation's programs include truth®, a national youth smoking prevention campaign that has been cited as having contributed to significant declines in youth smoking; EX®, an innovative public health program designed to speak to smokers in their own language and change the way they approach quitting; and research initiatives exploring the causes, consequences and approaches to reducing tobacco use. Legacy was created as a result of the November 1998 Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) reached between attorneys general from 46 states, five U.S. territories and the tobacco industry. Visit http://www.legacyforhealth.org/.