CB028859You’ve read on my blog before about Arizona’s statewide youth coalition Students Taking a New Direction, better known as STAND.  The group just wrapped up its 5th annual youth conference to congratulate members on a great year and recognize the best of the organization.  This year, Mohave County’s Kingman Youth Coalition “Beating Up Teen Tobacco” won coalition of the year and Vanessa O’Connor from Miami High School was named the Arizona Youth Advocate of the Year. The celebration highlights a 3-day conference designed by members to increase leadership skills and inspire future efforts.

STAND and the conference demonstrate the great work that is done in Arizona, but there is more to be done.  The CDC just released the 2013 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey  showing Arizona’s youth tobacco use rate is at 14%.  While that is below the national level of 16%, there is room to improve (Utah’s youth tobacco use rate is 4%).

The end game for STAND is to reduce the usage rate further by the promoting smoke-free park ordinances, cleaning up parks, mentoring their younger peers and increasing smoke-free boundaries.  For more information visit StandAZ.com, Facebook.com/Stand or follow STAND on twitter @AZStand.