Youth Advocates of the Year Awards

Meet Our 2012 Winners

Our Youth Advocates of the Year Awards honor top young leaders from across the country — individuals who have fought hard to promote tobacco prevention legislation, expose tobacco marketing to kids and keep peers from using tobacco.

National Youth Advocate of the Year
Gabe Glissmeyer, Salt Lake City, Utah, 18

Gabe's passion for tobacco-control advocacy began when he saw the harm that tobacco caused to his older sister, who started smoking at a young age. His interest deepened when he attended a gay pride event and was shocked to be told that he "couldn't be gay" because he didn't smoke. He soon learned how the tobacco industry targets the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities. Gabe then created Out of the Smoke, a program at the Utah Pride Center dedicated to helping people quit and encouraging a healthy lifestyle. Gabe also is president of the Youth Leadership Board of Utah's statewide youth tobacco-control program, One Good Reason. Working with One Good Reason, Gabe helped to survey 1,800 Utah teens about new, dissolvable tobacco products. The group's initiative, "It's All about the Packaging" was featured on national television and results were provided to the state of Colorado, where dissolvable products were being test-marketed. Gabe also has testified about tobacco issues before the Utah Legislature.

Group Winner
Reality Check — Madison, Oneida and Herkimer counties, New York

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.

Regional Winners

Eastern Regional Youth Advocate of the Year
Hattie Simon, Old Orchard Beach, Maine, 16

Hattie created an action plan to make the historic beaches in her hometown of Old Orchard Beach tobacco-free. She received a grant and organized a tobacco-free beach group. The group surveyed thousands of residents and summer visitors. Results showed that 88 percent approved of the plan; the group then pressed the Town Council to act. The Town Council passed a resolution in November that made the beach a voluntary tobacco-free zone. Last week, Old Orchard Beach implemented the policy by posting signs stating, in English and in French, "Please do not use tobacco products on our beach." Hattie is now working with other Maine towns to help them develop tobacco-free beach and parks campaigns. Hattie was the only youth invited to present at the Healthy Maine Partnerships Annual Meeting in Augusta.

Southern Regional Youth Advocate of the Year
Judy Hou, Midlothian, Virginia, 18

Judy is a leader of Y Street, Virginia's award-winning youth anti-tobacco group. With Y Street, she has surveyed Virginians to demonstrate they want smoke-free restaurants, and helped lead the Meltdown campaign, which focused attention on dissolvable and other smokeless tobacco products. Based on her work, Judy was asked to present Meltdown's findings to the FDA's Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee, to Virginia's two U.S. senators and to Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. Judy attended the FDA Youth Stakeholder meeting in Boston, as well as the FDA's Washington news conference to unveil the graphic warning labels for cigarettes. Since Y Street won the 2011 Group Award, Judy has worked as the youth voice for media outreach on the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids' annual report on state prevention funding and for Kick Butts Day.

Western Regional Youth Advocate of the Year
Nataanii Hatathlie, Kirtland, New Mexico, 18

Nataanii is president of his school's Diné 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.

Central Regional Youth Advocate of the Year
Jordenne McKay, LaCrosse, Wisconsin, 18

Jordy sits on the Youth Board of Directors of Fighting Against Corporate Tobacco, Wisconsin's youth program. In the past year, she has promoted the state's new smoke-free law, organized a campaign to thank legislators, educated business owners about the law's requirements and taught the public how to report violations. She planned a Young Women of Influence track at the state's Women of Influence expo, educating the community about how the tobacco industry targets women and girls. She currently focuses on educating policy makers about industry marketing to youth. Jordy has testified before the state Legislature and presented at the 2011 National Summit on Spit and Smokeless Tobacco. She also has met with Wisconsin's congressional delegation about FDA regulation and tobacco prevention.