May 11, 2017 – Nicolas Suarez, 17, of Port St. Lucie, Fla., has been named the South Region Youth Advocate of the Year by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids for his leadership in the fight against tobacco. Nicolas was honored Wednesday in Washington, D.C.
Nicolas is active with Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) and works to educate his peers about the harmful consequences of tobacco use. Nicolas also advocates in Port St. Lucie for policies to reduce tobacco use. Last November, he worked with the City Council to raise visibility for the Great American Smokeout, a day that encourages smokers to quit. A senior at Lincoln Park Academy, Nicolas will attend Boston University this fall.
“We are thrilled to honor Nicolas as our South Region Youth Advocate of the Year,” said Matthew L. Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “Young leaders like Nicolas are standing up to the tobacco industry, inspiring their peers to be tobacco-free and encouraging elected officials to take action. They are helping create the first tobacco-free generation.”
Over 400 public health, business, civic and political leaders attended the Youth Advocates of the Year awards ceremony to recognize Nicolas and other youth advocates from across the country. The winners received scholarships to continue their tobacco prevention efforts and will serve as youth ambassadors for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.
Tobacco use is the No. 1 cause of preventable death in the United States, killing over 480,000 Americans and costing the nation $170 billion in health care bills each year. Tobacco kills 6 million people worldwide each year.
In Florida, tobacco use claims over 32,000 lives and costs $8.6 billion in health care bills each year. Currently, 5.2 percent of Florida’s high school students smoke and 18 percent use e-cigarettes.
Additional information about the youth award winners, gala and tobacco can be found at www.tobaccofreekids.org.