Sunday, July 27, 2008

Durham "Bull" goes for Teen Choice Award

Durham resident and anti-tobacco activist Chad Bullock, 19, is up for a Teen Choice Award for his work to reduce smoking. He's one of the nine finalists for the award. Each finalist has been awarded $10,000 and the winner will receive an additional $100,000, all going to their favorite cause. Unfortunately you have to be under 25 to vote, so I'm out, but if you know someone who is pass this info along as voting only lasts a few more days. Here's the link to Chad's video and from there you can click to vote.

I interviewed Chad by e-mail earlier this evening about his efforts:

Why smoking? What got you started?
Tobacco products killed my great grandfather. Tobacco products kill 440,000 people a year in the US. It is sad that this takes place when it can be prevented. In fact, it is the leading cause of preventable deaths. Tobacco products are the only products that when used as intended, it will kill it's user. For many years tobacco companies have been getting away with killing people and I will not just sit and let that happen.

Why [work to eliminate smoking at] the Durham Bulls Athletic Park?
The Durham Bulls park is a large family event and historic part of Durham aka the birthplace of tobacco. Thousands of fans go to these games and many of those fans are children. Second hand smoke is sometimes more harmful than the actual smoke that the smoker takes in. Me and some of my peers got together and conducted hundreds of surveys at the park. The results came back and a majority of the fans, smokers and non-smokers, supported a smoke free park. We presented that to the General Manager George Habel and a few months later, the park was smoke free! Its ironic as it is In the center of Durham's historic tobacco district.

You get $10,000 for your cause from Do Something and possibly $100,000 if you win. What do you plan to do with the money?
Tobacco companies have millions and millions of dollars to spend on whatever they way. This prize money will be a great help in my efforts. I will use all of the prize money on efforts to engage youth across the nation in taking action in their local communities. I have a project called ElectriFYIed Youth Project and we will be present and many key youth events around the country aiming to spark a generation of "electric" leaders.

Are you continuing with your fight against smoking in college? If so, how?
I am currently traveling across the country speaking to teens about the tobacco industry while in college. Its a crazy schedule but a majority of my courses are online. I have an event coming up soon with 4000 advocates that I must train, so it can be very busy at times...I love it.

How do you feel about Durham?
Durham...I like it. Traveling all over, I always have some joy coming back to Durham. Its small and slow sometimes, but overall I believe that it has a lot to offer.

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