Carlos Vela

2017 Youth Advocate of the Year
Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
Ingleside, TX

Carlos has advocated for policies to reduce tobacco use at the local, state and national levels. As a result of Carlos’ non-stop commitment to tobacco control in 2016 while serving as the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids South Region Youth Advocate of the Year, Carlos has been appointed National Youth Advocate of the Year for 2017.

Carlos has spent the past three years tirelessly pursuing a smoke-free ordinance in his hometown of Ingleside, Texas. After the City Council initially rejected the ordinance, Carlos helped collect enough petition signatures to put the measure up for public referendum, with the vote to be held in May 2017.

Carlos is also active in the campaign to raise the tobacco sale age in Texas to 21. In support of this effort he joined legislators to give a press conference at the Texas Capitol, and has testified before the legislature in support of the bill.

Carlos is also an ambassador for Say What! (Students, Adults and Youth Working Hard Against Tobacco!), a movement to reduce tobacco use in Texas. In this role, Carlos travels statewide to train other youth leaders to become effective advocates.

On the national level, Carlos has met with his members of Congress to promote FDA regulation of all tobacco products and CDC funding for tobacco prevention programs.

Carlos’ motivation to fight tobacco stems from his mother’s long struggle to quit smoking.