Tobacco summit comes to region

COLQUITT -- Youth from throughout Southwest Georgia will gain valuable tools to help advocate for the healthy future of their communities when the Southwest Georgia Youth Tobacco Summit is held Saturday in Colquitt.

Sponsored by the Georgia Department of Community Health in cooperation with the Miller County Tobacco Coalition and the Southwest Georgia Cancer Coalition, the free summit will host youth in grades 9-11 who are actively involved in a school or community group, along with their adult leaders.

"We are so honored to be part of such an important day that will arm teenagers in southwest Georgia with the information, resources and education that will help them move toward a healthier future for themselves and their communities," said Sheila Freeman, chairman of the Miller County Tobacco Coalition, a group of concerned citizens formed in response to the county's increased rate of deaths from tobacco-related cancers.

"In Georgia alone, more than 18,000 young people are predicted to become new, daily smokers this year. If we can create communities that deter youth from using tobacco, then there is a good chance they will never start," she said.

Led by members of Youth Empowered Solutions (YES!), a nationally recognized organization, youth and their adult leaders will learn leadership skills, gain valuable resources, and be trained on how to educate their peers and community leaders on teenage tobacco use and how it impacts not only their personal health, but the wellbeing and future of their communities, and Southwest Georgia, as well.

Members of youth groups from throughout Southwest Georgia in grades 9-11 and an adult leader for each group are invited to attend the free summit on Saturday at the LAPD in Colquitt. Registration is required and space is limited.

Call (229) 758-3059 for information and to register.