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Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids Honors 2007 Youth Advocates Of The Year For Leadership in Fighting Tobacco Use

D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty Also Honored As Champion
May 03, 2007

Washington, DC — The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids today announced the winners of the 2007Youth Advocates of the Year Awards, an annual competition that honors young people who have made outstanding contributions to tobacco prevention. The youth advocates will receive educational scholarships and grants to continue their tobacco prevention efforts and serve as ambassadors for the Campaign.

The Campaign will also present its Champion Award to Washington D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty for his leadership in the fight against tobacco use. The Champion Award recognizes Mayor Fenty’s leadership from the very beginning in the long and successful fight to pass the District’s smoke-free law, which requires that all workplaces, including restaurants and bars, be smoke-free.

As a Council Member, Mayor Fenty was one of two original co-sponsors of the smoke-free legislation in 2003 and worked tirelessly for three years to enact it into law. The City Council adopted smoke-free legislation in January 2006, and the law took full effect in January 2007. As Mayor, Mayor Fenty has supported strong and effective implementation of the law.

More than 400 government, public health, political, civic and business leaders will attend the gala to recognize Mayor Fenty and the young leaders.

The 2007 Youth Advocates of the Year are:

  • National: Kathy Staats, 12th grade, Greendale, WI
  • International Grant Winner: Jolie Yang, 11th grade, Centerville, OH
  • East Region: Kyle Peavley, 10th grade, Trenton, OH
  • South Region: Anna Butler, 11th grade, Matthews, NC
  • Central Region: Kristy Ordoñez, 9th grade, Ardmore, OK
  • West Region: Whitney Rutt, 11th grade, Sandy, UT
  • Group: 'Question Why,' Central-East Region, Durham, NC

'These young leaders are making great strides against youth tobacco addiction and their voices are being heard,' said Matthew L. Myers, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids president. 'Every day, 1,000 kids in the United States become daily smokers and one-third of them will die prematurely from tobacco-caused disease. Almost 90 percent of adult smokers began at or before the age of 18. Youth are powerful allies in the fight to turn these trends around.'

National: Kathy Staats, 17, a senior at Greendale High School, serves on the Youth Board of Directors for FACT (Fighting Against Corporate Tobacco) and the Regional Leadership Board of Peers With Impact. Kathy worked on Madison's smoke-free ordinance and has been actively supporting Governor Jim Doyle's proposal to increase Wisconsin’s cigarette tax and provide additional funding for tobacco prevention programs.

In 2006, Kathy played a key role as planner and facilitator for the Wisconsin statewide summit known as 'FACT Boot Camp,' an event that left the 150 adult and youth participants inspired and ready to act. Kathy has been seen throughout Wisconsin and the nation in advertisements that promote FACT and expose the lies of Big Tobacco. The commercial has educated many young people about tobacco and has generated more than 1,100 new members for FACT.

International Grant Winner: Jolie Yang, 17, a junior at Centerville High School has been a member of Ohio’s Asian American Youth Against Tobacco (AAYAT) for four years. Jolie was active in the successful effort to pass the Smoke-Free Ohio ballot initiative in 2006 that made workplaces in Ohio smoke-free, including restaurants and bars.

Jolie has traveled to Taiwan twice on her own to educate elementary and high school students about the dangers of smoking. She encouraged the students she met to stop smoking and to push for change within their country. Jolie researched social attitudes toward smokers and the tobacco industry in Taiwan by collecting responses to a survey that she wrote. Jolie is planning to travel to Taiwan to help the students she met organize their own anti-tobacco group.

East Region: Kyle Peavley,16, a sophomore at Edgewood High School, held four annual Smoke-Free Dining Days in his county and actively promoted the Smoke-Free Ohio initiative, distributing nearly 420,000 fliers. He is now hard at work passing out enforcement kits about the new smoke-free law.

Kyle has also worked on national tobacco issues. In 2006, Kyle met with members of the Ohio Congressional delegation in Washington, DC, about legislation to grant the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the authority to regulate tobacco products. Kyle garnered media coverage in four major newspapers by organizing a protest at the district office of U.S. Rep. John Boehner (R-OH), an opponent of the FDA legislation.

South Region: Anna Butler, 17, a junior at Charlotte Christian School has worked to pass a local smoke-free ordinance. Anna created a Teens Against Tobacco Use (TATU) Club in her high school to train advocates in faith-based youth groups. She was also an instrumental leader in the creation of GASP (Girls Advocating for Smoke-free Pregnancies), whose mission is to help educate pregnant teens about the dangers of smoking while pregnant and urge them to use the state’s Quitline.

Central Region: Kristy Ordoñez, 15, a freshman at Plainview High School, has served as president of her local youth empowerment movement S.W.A.T. (Students Working Against Tobacco) for two years. Kristy was instrumental in making her school campus smoke-free, as well as advocating for city ordinances to require smoke-free public places and restrict youth access to tobacco. She wrote personal letters to each city commissioner and gave a presentation to the Ardmore City Commission. Kristy is active in efforts to make outdoor activities, such as bull riding events and the skate park, tobacco-free. Kristy was inspired to join the tobacco control movement after losing one grandfather to lung cancer and watching the other live with one lung due to tobacco use.

West Region: Whitney Rutt, 17, a junior at Jordan High School, has shown great leadership skills over the past two years serving as the vice-president and now president of the Phoenix Alliance, a group of hundreds of teens leading Utah's anti-tobacco movement. Since getting involved in the fight against tobacco, Whitney has worked on issues ranging from trying to eliminate smoking in the movies to advocating for smoke-free workplaces and public places and spreading the message about the dangers of secondhand smoke.

Last summer, Whitney met with members of Congress regarding legislation to grant the FDA authority to regulate tobacco products. Whitney and the Phoenix Alliance are working to get 5,000 signatures from Utah residents who support FDA regulation.

Group: The youth of 'Question Why,' Central-East Region, offer 'Tobacco 101,' a basic course for educating youth about tobacco companies as well as the health effects and ingredients of tobacco products. They also offer 'Tobacco 202', which explores the political, cultural, historical and economic impacts of tobacco. They have partnered with ALE (Alcohol Law Enforcement) to create a merchant education program to reduce youth access to tobacco products.