Paris Teen is ‘Changing Minds, Getting Results’ in Anti-Smoking Push; Receives National Honor

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KYFORWARD | JUNE 8, 2015

Tyler Boyle, a senior at Bourbon County High School in Paris and president of the school’s Students Making a Change in the Community, has received national recognition for his efforts to push a smoking ban in Bourbon County.

The 18-year-old was named the South Region Youth Advocate of the Year by the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids for his efforts to push a smoking ban in Bourbon County. He was one of four regional winners of the award; a national winner and group winner were also honored by the organization dedicated to reducing tobacco use and advocating for policies that prevent kids from smoking.

Boyle has worked with his local health department to organize political forums to focus attention on tobacco’s toll in Kentucky and the need for strong action to address it. He has also spoken at press conferences on tobacco issues with the Kentucky and Indiana attorneys general.

Boyle revitalized the SMACC Club to provide a forum for youth voices to be heard on tobacco issues. Within two months of initiating discussions with school officials, the group secured e-cigarette language in their high school’s smoke-free campus policy.

“We are thrilled to honor Tyler as our South Region Youth Advocate of the Year,” said Matthew L. Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “Young leaders like Tyler are changing minds and getting results – both by convincing their peers to reject tobacco and spurring elected officials to take action. With their help, we can make the next generation tobacco-free.”

Over 400 public health, business, civic and political leaders will attend the gala to recognize Tyler, three additional regional award winners, one national winner and one group winner. The winners will receive scholarships to continue their prevention efforts and will also 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 more than 480,000 Americans and costing the nation about $170 billion in health care bills each year. Without strong action now, 5.6 million kids alive today will die prematurely from tobacco-caused disease, according to the U.S. Surgeon General. In Kentucky, tobacco use kills 8,900 people and costs the state $1.9 billion in health care.

Boyle will attend Vassar College in the fall to study political science with a focus on advocacy work and said he would continue his work with the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids.

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