WASHINGTON, D.C. – Agamroop Kaur of San Ramon, CA, has been named the Barrie Fiske National Youth Advocate of the Year by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. Agamroop will be honored on May 5, 2022, for her leadership in the fight against tobacco at the Tobacco-Free Kids’ annual Youth Advocates of the Year Awards celebration in Washington D.C.
Now, a senior at Dougherty Valley High School, Agamroop Kaur’s advocacy work began in middle school when she noticed that every bathroom smelled like a candy store and many of her classmates were already hooked on Juul e-cigarettes. She made it her mission to educate her peers about the dangers of vaping and to stop the tobacco industry from targeting her generation. She has also authored op-eds and produced a documentary on the youth e-cigarette epidemic – titled “BIG Tobacco BIGGER Epidemic” – that won a prize in C-SPAN’s student documentary contest. Agamroop also worked on successful campaigns in five California cities and Contra Costa County to end the sale of flavored e-cigarettes and other tobacco products, expand smoke-free policies and limit tobacco retailers in youth centered areas.
“We are thrilled to honor Agamroop Kaur as the Barry Fiske 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, Agamroop 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.”
The National Youth Advocate of the Year Award is named after Barrie Fiske, a tireless champion for the right to breathe smoke-free air and a longtime member of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids Board of Directors, who passed away in 2019.
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 Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
“I am an ambitious high school student, venturing through the world with an open mind,” Agamroop wrote on her LinkedIn page. “With my passion for policy, research, human biology and behavior, I seek to expand the realm of public health with innovative solutions.”
Last year, she served for four months as a Policy and Media Intern for the Contra Costa Health Services Tobacco Prevention Project and has been a Teen Research Advisor for the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media since February 2021. Agamroop is also a Stanford University Research and Policy Intern serving as a Youth Action Board member of Stanford’s REACH Lab where she’s working to build and review curriculum reaching 2 million youth.
Tobacco use is the No. 1 cause of preventable death in the United States, killing over 480,000 Americans and costing the nation $226 billion in annual smoking health care costs.
In California, tobacco use claims 40,000 lives annually and costs $13.29 billion in health care bills each year. Currently, 1.2% (24,400) of California high school students smoke cigarettes, and 8.2% use e-cigarettes.
Additional information about the youth award winners can be found at tfk.org/awards and more resources and information about tobacco can be found at www.tobaccofreekids.org