WASHINGTON, D.C. — Cuba High School student Adrianna Casaus was named a National Youth Advocate of the Year by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids on May 5.

Adrianna Casaus. (Courtesy photo)

Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is an advocacy organization working to reduce tobacco use among students.

The organization works with leaders in the United States at the local, state and national levels, as well as in low- and middle-income countries.

Casaus got involved in the fight against tobacco during her freshman year of high school after noticing widespread e-cigarette use among her peers and witnessing the effects of tobacco use on her grandfather’s health.

She has also worked with New Mexico legislators to advocate for the Tobacco Products Act, a new law that raised the tobacco sales ages to 21 and required retailers to obtain a license to sell tobacco products. Adrianna most recently worked to advocate for an increase in the state’s tobacco tax.

“We are thrilled to honor Adrianna Casaus as a National Youth Advocate of the Year,” said Matthew L. Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “Seeing first-hand the impact of tobacco use on her peers and family, Adrianna has become a passionate advocate for the health of her peers and community. She exemplifies the qualities of a new generation of leaders who are standing up to the tobacco industry and fighting with us for a healthier and more equitable future.”

Every year, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids honors a National Youth Advocate of the Year, four Individual Youth Advocates of the Year and a Group Youth Advocate of the Year. The winners receive scholarships to continue their tobacco prevention efforts and serve as youth ambassadors for the organization.

In New Mexico, tobacco use claims 2,600 lives annually and costs $844 million in health care bills each year. Currently, 8.9 percent of New Mexico high school students smoke cigarettes, and 34 percent use e-cigarettes.

For more information about the award winners, visit tfk.org/awards.