LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 25, 2009) – Two Kentucky high school freshmen were recognized as Youth Advocates of the Year yesterday at the annual Leadership Exchange Conference hosted by the University of Kentucky Clean Indoor Air Partnership at the Doubletree Suites in Lexington.
The 2008 Youth Advocate of the Year was awarded to Elizabeth Wood, a freshman at Western Hills High School in Frankfort and a member of her local smoke-free coalition. After Elizabeth suffered a severe asthma attack, she petitioned the Frankfort City Commission when she was a 5th grader and asked the city to enact a smoke-free ordinance. After several attempts and the partnership with the health care community, they were eventually successful. Frankfort City Commission enacted a smoke-free enclosed public places law in July 2006.
The 2009 Youth Advocate of the Year was awarded to Nicholas Hites, a freshman at Prestonsburg High School and a member of the Breathe Easy Floyd County Coalition. Nicholas provided testimony at the June Prestonsburg City Council meeting. Prestonsburg enacted a comprehensive smoke-free workplace ordinance in August 2009 and the law goes into effect in November. Prestonsburg is the first community in Eastern Kentucky with a comprehensive smoke-free workplace ordinance.
The cities of Prestonsburg and London also were recognized for their leadership in protecting the public health. Mayor Troy Rudder accepted the 2009 Smoke-free Community Excellence Award on behalf of the London City Council that enacted a smoke-free law in August 2009. London is second to Campbellsville in south central Kentucky to have a comprehensive smoke -free workplace ordinance. Councilman Gorman Collins accepted the 2009 Smoke-free Community Excellence Award on behalf of the Prestonsburg City Council.
The University of Kentucky Clean Indoor Air Partnership sponsored an annual Leadership Exchange Conference yesterday to share lessons learned from rural smoke-free communities as well as update health advocates on the latest research on secondhand smoke and smoke-free policy.
The youth advocates and communities were recognized for their valuable contributions toward working to protect all workers and community members from secondhand smoke by educating local citizens on the dangers of secondhand smoke and advancing smoke-free policy in their local communities. Currently, 30 percent of Kentuckians in 14 communities are covered by comprehensive smoke-free ordinances or regulations.