Ninety percent of all adult smokers begin this deadly addiction as teenagers, or earlier. As a result, youth are critical and powerful voices in the fight against tobacco. They encourage their peers to be tobacco-free, stand up to the tobacco industry and its deceptive marketing, and urge elected leaders to protect America’s kids from tobacco.
Through our Youth Initiatives, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids fosters young leaders who are striving to make the next generation tobacco-free.
Kick Butts Day is a national day of activism that empowers youth to stand out, speak up and seize control against tobacco, generating more than 1,000 events across the United States and on military bases around the world. Each year, thousands of young people plan and conduct events that focus attention on the deadly dangers of tobacco use, proven solutions to the problem and tobacco industry marketing that targets youth.
Taking Down Tobacco is our comprehensive youth advocacy training program, created in partnership with the CVS Health Foundation. This initiative educates, empowers and engages youth through both online and in-person trainings. It engages new youth in the fight against tobacco and provides in-depth training to help young leaders take their advocacy to the next level.
The Youth Engagement Alliance (YEA) for Tobacco Control provides technical assistance and support to a network of adult coordinators who work with youth in tobacco control across the country. YEA’s mission is to create a unified voice that cultivates and advances strategies for youth engagement and advocacy in tobacco control by providing support, networking, training and resources for those working with youth.
Our National Youth Ambassadors are high school-aged youth advocates who have demonstrated leadership and dedication in the fight against tobacco. Youth advocates are identified each year as representatives of their state through a competitive application process. These leaders are trained at our annual Youth Advocacy Symposium and engaged year-round through ongoing training, technical assistance and calls to action.
Each year, we honor the accomplishments of outstanding young people who are among today’s most effective leaders in tobacco control. Our award-winning youth advocates have excelled in fighting tobacco use at the local, state and national levels. We celebrate their achievements each spring before an audience of several hundred business, philanthropic and government leaders. These youth leaders become National Youth Ambassadors and receive scholarships and grants to continue their advocacy.