Coalition for Tobacco-Free Hawaii’s (CTFH) Youth Council is made up of middle school, high school, and university-age students from all four counties in Hawai‘i. Their goal is to fight the influence of the powerful Big Tobacco companies and protect their generation from the negative health and economic impact of tobacco use. Every year, CTFH Youth Council members work together to prioritize policies they want to advocate for and plan their own campaigns. They are future leaders fighting for the health of their own generation against the powerful influences of Big Tobacco.
For several years, CTFH Youth Council members advocated for regulating nicotine products like candy or fruit flavor vape juice, so young people do not have access to vape products. They educate their peers and politicians to support sensible legislation to end the sales of flavored tobacco products through campaigns. They fight to protect Hawaii’s Tobacco Prevention and Control Trust Fund that finances prevention and tobacco cessation programming and evaluation around the state. Members have organized sign-waving events, and conduct presentations at schools to create awareness on the dangers of smoking and vaping for youth. Youth Council members take a leadership role by taking an important stand against tobacco to protect youth and other vulnerable groups.
This year, the CTFH Youth Council is honored to receive the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids’ (CTFK) 2021 Youth Advocates of the Year – Group Award. The Youth Council is recognized for taking #TheToughestFights to protect their peers and community in Hawai‘i. CTFH Youth Council will receive this award on September 29, 2021, at 12:00 PM Hawai‘i time at CTFK’s virtual event, Taking on the Toughest Fight: Celebrating 25 Years of Youth Advocacy.
One voice makes an impact, and a community of voices drives change. Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawaii is a model organization leading the way to rally others in the fight for healthier, more equitable communities. Their Voices in the Fight are invaluable, and we look forward to celebrating them and our incredible youth advocates from across the U.S.
We’ll see you at our 2021 Youth Advocates of the Year Awards on September 29, 2021!
-Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids team
This is not the first time the CTFH Youth Council has been recognized for its efforts. On August 9, 2021 the Hawai‘i Children’s Youth Day organizers recognized the youth council via social media as winners of the Outstanding Advocates for Children and Youth Day Award under the category of Health and Human Services. The Youth Council was recognized for its “outstanding work in reducing teen smoking and vaping. The CTFH Youth Council has made many improvements from introducing legislation, organizing peer to peer training along with conducting rallies and workshops in the community.”
We honor the following youth for their dedication and leadership this year: Nikkya Taliaferro, Moanalua High School graduate and Howard University student; Joshua Ching, Kamehameha Schools Kapalama student; Logan Lau, Kamehameha Schools Kapalama student; and Holly Taguma, Kauai High School student. These young leaders follow the footsteps of Sara Kay, Punahou graduate and Dartmouth University student who won the Youth Champion of the Year Award in 2018.
“On behalf of the Youth Council, thank you for all of the support you have provided to us so that we could get to this point!
All of our members are so excited that the tobacco prevention work we’re doing is noticed, is seen, and is valued on a national level.
But, without our collective action as a coalition, and of course Scott’s tireless efforts (best advisor of the year!), we wouldn’t have been able to do this. Thank you again for your support!”
Joshua Ching, Kamehameha School Kapalama Graduate
Scott Stensrud, the Statewide Youth Coordinator states that “the Youth Council will not be resting on their laurels – they have already formed multiple workgroups around projects they want to complete this year. If you know of students that might be interested, the CTFH Youth Council accepts students year-round and can always find a place for motivated students!” Interested youth can learn more about the Youth Council and apply at hiphi.org/youth.