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Local teens build network for tobacco prevention, May 22

Featured speakers: cancer survivor Debi Austin and Shannon Brewer, youth advocate

SNOHOMISH COUNTY --- More than 100 teenagers from all across Snohomish County will convene on May 22 at Warm Beach Retreat Center near Stanwood, Wash., to network about tobacco control and prevention. The educational event, "Making Tobacco History 2001," will establish the county's Youth Action Network. Organizers include Snohomish Health District and Washington Doctors Ought to Care (DOC).

Featured speakers at the event include cancer survivor Debi Austin, depicted in startling ads with smoke trailing from a hole in her throat; and Shannon Brewer, recent recipient of the National Youth Advocate of the Year Award.

"Youth in Snohomish County can be a powerful force for change in their communities if they connect with each other," said Patrick Brownd, health educator for the Tobacco Prevention and Control Program at Snohomish Health District. "We have many local youth groups -- such as Teens Against Tobacco Use (TATU) -- in schools and communities, but now they will be able to network with each other and better use the resources available to them," he said.

"Members of the Youth Action Network will raise awareness and build capacity in their home communities about healthier, tobacco-free lifestyles." Brownd explained that building local capacity for tobacco control and prevention could range from changes in student attitudes to customer demand for smoke-free dining and recreation facilities.

Snohomish Health District's Tobacco Prevention and Control Program is partially funded with proceeds from the Master Settlement Agreement between Washington state and major tobacco companies in 1998. Other funding sources include the Youth Access grant from the state Department of Health, local capacity grants and a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For more information about the Youth Action Network, contact Patrick Brownd at 425.339.8657. Established in 1959 the Snohomish Health District works to improve the health of individuals, families and communities through disease prevention, health promotion, and protection from environmental threats.