Carter County teen receives $10,000 to encourage teens not to smoke
GRAYSON, Ky. - Shanna Sizemore believes strongly that young people shouldn't smoke.
So strongly, that a tobacco company awarded her $10,000 to help spread that message.
Sizemore, 16, a junior at East Carter High School, recently received the award from the TeenHIP - Teens Helping Influence People - grant program sponsored by Lorillard Tobacco Co.
She was one of 10 finalists in the United States to receive the awards. The recipients will use the funds to launch anti-smoking programs this fall, with the help of school or community groups.
Sizemore said she planned to work with the East Carter Youth Services Center to launch a series of anti-smoking initiatives in the Carter County elementary schools. The theme of the program will be "Be Smart, Don't Start," she said.
Sizemore said she was encouraged to apply for the grant by a director of the East Carter Youth Services Center.
"It seems like over the years, there's been such an increase in youth smoking," Sizemore said. "We need to do something to make it stop."
Sizemore said the irony of a tobacco company funding anti-smoking programs wasn't lost on her, either.
But, she said she felt the source of the money was less important than what she plans to do with it.
Lorillard, based in Greensboro, N.C., is the nation's fourth-largest tobacco company. The TeenHIP grant program is part of the firm's voluntary youth smoking prevention program, which includes national advertising, retail employee training and signs to discourage youth access to tobacco products.