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Attends Advocacy Training In D.C.

Attends Advocacy Training In D.C. Attends Advocacy Training In D.C.

Youth Attends Advocacy Training In D.C.

Kailayla Villaluz of Wolf Point was among 22 young people from around the country named National Youth and Young Adult Ambassadors recently by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

The 23 youths were selected for demonstrating leadership in fighting tobacco use in their communities. They gathered in Washington, D.C., last week for Tobacco-Free Kids’ annual Youth Advocacy Symposium, a four-day training session focused on building advocacy, communications and leadership skills.

The ambassadors will work with the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids to raise awareness about the dangers of tobacco products and advocate for effective policies to reduce youth tobacco use. While in Washington, Villaluz and her colleagues met with members of Congress to advocate for ending the sale of all flavored tobacco products.

Villaluz, 14, advocates against the tobacco industry and their exploitation of indigenous peoples and their culture.

“We are thrilled to welcome this new class of Youth and Young Adult Ambassadors, whose passion, tenacity and leadership will help us create the first tobacco-free generation,” said Yolonda C. Richardson, president and CEO of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “Young people are critical voices in the fight against tobacco because they speak from experience about how they are targeted by the tobacco industry. Policy makers should listen and support strong policies to protect kids, including ending the sale of all flavored tobacco products.”

While the United States has made great progress in reducing youth smoking, the latest government survey shows that 3.08 million U.S. middle and high school students used tobacco products in 2022, including over 2.5 million who used e-cigarettes. Research shows that 81 percent of youth who have used a tobacco product started with a flavored product.

In Montana, 25.5 percent of high school students use e-cigarettes, while 7 percent smoke traditional cigarettes. Tobacco use claims 1,600 lives in the state each year.

The Campaign for Tobacco- Free Kids is the leading advocacy organization working to prevent and reduce tobacco use and its deadly consequences in the United States and around the world. Tobacco-Free Kids advocates for evidence-based policies that protect children, improve health and save the most lives.

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Kailayla Villaluz traveled to Washington, D.C., last week to meet with members of Congress as part of anti-tobacco advocacy.

(Photo submitted)

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