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Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids Honors Auriel Rolle-Polk of Tallahassee, FL As Youth Advocate of the Year

--Leadership in Fight Against Tobacco Recognized Nationally--

WASHINGTON, May 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Auriel Rolle-Polk, 17, of Tallahassee, FL has been named the South Regional Youth Advocate of the Year by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids for her leadership in the fight against tobacco. Auriel is being honored at a gala in the nation's capital on May 20 along with a national winner, international grant winner, three other regional winners and a group winner.

Auriel, a junior at Lawton Chiles High, has been working in tobacco control for four years. She founded a SWAT (Students Working Against Tobacco) chapter at her high school and has spoken with elected officials about restricting the sales of candy-flavored tobacco products and raising the cigarette tax. Auriel was also instrumental in creating and implementing a spit tobacco awareness event for youth on the steps of Florida's Capitol which garnered local and national media coverage.

More than 400 public health, political, civic and business leaders will attend the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids' twelfth annual anniversary gala in Washington, D.C., to recognize these young leaders. The winners will receive educational scholarships and grants to continue their prevention efforts and serve as ambassadors for the Campaign.

"Auriel Rolle-Polk and other young leaders from across the nation 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 regular 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."

In Florida, more than 14 percent of high school students smoke, and 26,300 kids become daily smokers every year. Every year, tobacco use kills 28,700 residents and costs the state over $6 billion in health care bills. Nationally, tobacco use kills more than 400,000 people and costs the nation more than $96 billion in health care costs each year.

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is a leader in the fight to reduce tobacco use and its devastating consequences in the United States and around the world. By changing public attitudes and public policies on tobacco, the Campaign strives to prevent kids from smoking, help smokers quit and protect everyone from secondhand smoke.

SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
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