Tobacco-Free Kids: Nataanii Hatathlie is Youth Advocate

Nataanii Hatathlie, 18, of Kirtland, New Mexico, has been named the Western Region Youth Advocate of the Year by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids for his leadership in the fight against tobacco.

Nataanii is being honored at a gala in the nation’s capital on Thursday (May 17) along with a national winner, three other regional winners and a group winner.

Nataanii is president of his school’s Dine Youth Council, which promotes tobacco-free lifestyles, and a leader of Evolvement, the statewide youth tobacco control group.

With Evolvement, Nataanii participated in the Meltdown campaign to raise awareness about dissolvable and other smokeless tobacco products, as well as a program to raise awareness about the impact of smoking in movies.

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Moreover, consumers are getting a glimpse of graphic images that will be alternating on all cigarette packages and advertisements—an effort by health officials to discourage smoking by bringing Americans face-to-face with tobacco-related disease. (Read: FDA Unveils New Cigarette Health Warnings)

Also, maternal cigarette smoking in the first trimester was associated with a 20 to 70 percent greater likelihood that a baby would be born with certain types of congenital heart defects, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Read: Smoking in Pregnancy Risky for Infants)

“Nataanii Hatathlie and other young leaders from across the nation are making great strides in the fight against tobacco and their voices are being heard,” said Matthew L. Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

In New Mexico, according to the Campaign, 24 percent of high school students smoke, and 2,100 kids become daily smokers every year.

Every year, tobacco use kills 2,100 New Mexico residents and costs the state $461 million in health care bills. Nationally, tobacco use kills more than 400,000 people and costs the nation $96 billion in health care expenditures each year.

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is a leading force in the fight to reduce tobacco use and its deadly toll in the United States and around the world.

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Rakesh Raman