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Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids Honors Michelle Mays of Rhinelander, WI As Youth Advocate of the Year

-Leadership in Fight Against Tobacco Recognized Nationally-

WASHINGTON, May 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Michelle Mays, 17, of Rhinelander has been named the Central Regional Youth Advocate of the Year by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids for her leadership in the fight against tobacco. Michelle 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.

Michelle, a junior at Rhinelander High School, has been an active member of FACT (Fighting Against Corporate Tobacco), Wisconsin's statewide anti-tobacco youth movement, since she was twelve years old. She has conducted compliance checks in retail stores, helped produce educational media for her peers and hosted youth rallies in support of a smoke-free Wisconsin. Working with FACT, Michelle has spoken with city officials and state lawmakers to advocate for smoke-free air and cigarette tax increases. She also attended the Altria/Philip Morris shareholder meeting and participated in an advocacy event at the Altria headquarters in New York City.

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.

"Michelle Mays 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 Wisconsin, more than 19 percent of high school students smoke, and 9,100 kids become daily smokers every year. Every year, tobacco use kills 7,300 residents and costs the state over $2 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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