Look Out Big Tobacco: The Power of Youth Advocacy

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

Dates of Support: January 1996 to September 2007; the Campaign continues.

Field of Work: Reducing the use of tobacco among youth.

Synopsis of the Work: The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids was a national program that promoted policy and environmental changes to prevent and reduce tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke, especially among children, as well as changes that will minimize the harm caused by tobacco. Other funders include the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, and the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Story Told: Each year, through the Youth Advocates of the Year Awards, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids honors top youth advocates from across the country—youth who have fought hard to promote tobacco-control legislation in their home states, reduce tobacco marketing to young people in their communities, and stop their peers from using tobacco. The Campaign also gives awards to groups that work with youth.

This sidebar tells the stories of some of the award winners and finalists:

  • The North Carolina "Question Why" program, winner of the group award in 2007, educates youth about tobacco, including its health effects, uses a train-the-trainer model, and emphasizes youth empowerment.
  • Chad Bullock of Durham, N.C., a regional winner in 2007, who was heavily involved in Question Why and later led a project opposing Brown & Williamson's Kool Mixx marketing campaign, which utilized hip-hop images and music to market cigarettes.
  • Vicki Herbert, a 2002 finalist for a regional award, helped plan Kick Butts Day and did a summer internship with the Campaign's Youth Advocacy department.

"Young people are out there making changes. It is becoming the norm," said Bullock."