Bourbon Co. teen named South’s top youth anti-tobacco advocate for his efforts in pushing for county smoking ban

Tyler Boyle (Photo from
Lexington Herald-Leader)

Tyler Boyle, a Bourbon County High School senior and president of Students Making A Change in the Community, was named the South Region Youth Advocate of the Year by the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids for his efforts to push a smoking ban in Bourbon County, Lashana Harney reports for the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Boyle has been a part of SMACC since it was re-established in 2013. The club is a place for youth voices to be heard on smoking issues, with the ultimate goal of a countywide smoking ban — but in the meantime, working for a school regulation that would ban electronic cigarettes.

The smoking ban has yet to pass, but the schools have added e-cigarettes to their comprehensive tobacco policy, which banned tobacco products of any kind on school grounds.

Boyle told the Herald-Leader that he applied for the award in hopes of bringing more attention to the anti-tobacco cause in his county, which has a long history of tobacco production and sales.

“I applied for this award because of all of the work that I’ve done in my home community and state for tobacco control,” he told Harney. “I thought that if I could make national attention, maybe, it would make the officials in my community take this issue more seriously.”

Boyle said that he was honored to receive the award, which was presented at a gala in Washington, D.C., in mid-May. He plans to attend a symposium sponsored by the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids in Washington in July and the Philip Morris Cos. international shareholder meeting next May.

Boyle told Harney that sometimes he gets frustrated because change is slow to take place, but the will to keep pushing forward always comes back.

“After attending the award gala, I was revitalized and I’m ready for the next step in tobacco control,” he said.

Boyle will attend Vassar College in the fall to study political science with a focus on advocacy work and said he would continue his work with the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids.

“Tobacco advocacy is something near to my heart,” Boyle said. “Vassar is actually going smoke free in July 2015. So, I plan to work hard to implement and support their new policy.”

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