The following is a Press Release from the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free WV
CHARLESTON, WV – The Coalition of a Tobacco-Free West Virginia (CTFWV) is excited to announce its annual award recipients for outstanding work in educating the public about tobacco-related issues and advocating for policies that reduce, with the intent to eliminate, tobacco use in West Virginia.
The Award Ceremony, hosted by Jim Strawn, took place with over 50 groups and advocates in the state in attendance via a virtual awards presentation.
“This award ceremony was an opportunity to show our sincere gratitude to individuals in West Virginia who are passionate about advocating for a healthier state with less tobacco use. This mission is of pinnacle importance, as we lead the nation in tobacco use. We commend and highlight each of these individuals in their effort to save thousands of lives in our state each year,” said Juliana Curry, President of CTFWV.
This year’s award recipients include:
CTFWV 2021 Youth Advocate of the Year: Sunjit Neginhal
Sunjit Neginhal now a student at Virginia Tech, but spent an incredible amount of his high school years identifying ways to help his peers rid their harmful addiction to e-cigarette and vaping products. He testified at the legislature, submitted pieces to local newspapers, conducted television interviews and worked to create impactful social media content to share. He continues to learn about state-specific tobacco issues and continues to advocate.
CTFWV 2021 Community Advocate of the Year
Great Puckett is the Mercer County Commissioner and is a long-time advocate for effective tobacco-related policy change at the local, state, and federal level. He has served as a spokesperson for the coalition speaking at legislative committee hearings, on statewide media, and as an advocate educating West Virginians about the importance of a tobacco-free West Virginia.
CTFWV 2021 Legislative Champions
Senator Ron Stollings, Senator Tom Takubo, and Delegate Mick Bates are three West Virginia policymakers who made tobacco prevention a priority in the 2021 Legislative Session and continue to focus on efforts to defeat preemption, protect local smoke-free regulations, propose legislation to increase tobacco tax and secure funding for critical prevention cessation programs.
Additionally, Mayor Kay Summers, Mayor of Clendenin quickly became an effective advocate for our issues around protecting local control by speaking out, engaging others, and educating the public about these important issues.
CTFWV 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award
Bruce W. Adkins is now retired as the Director of the Office of Community Health Systems and Health Promotion at the WV Bureau for Public Health, but continues to make tobacco prevention and cessation efforts a priority for BPH and all health partners. After practicing twenty-five years as an orthopedic and general surgical physician’s assistant, he then came to the public health arena and served as the Director of the Division of Tobacco Prevention for the WV Bureau for Public Health for fourteen years. He continues to serve as a dedicated advocate to change the statistics of tobacco use among West Virginians.
CTFWV Communications Rockstar
Jim Strawn is the Owner and President of Jim Strawn & Company and is known as a charismatic leader doing his part to make America and his home state of West Virginia a better place to live, learn, work, and play. He is an author, TV show host, public speaker, marketing strategist, blogger, event planner, fundraiser organizer, radio personality, and a university professor. Jim jumped on board to assist this coalition with effective, eye-catching and persuadable communications strategies during 2021 and the group is thankful for his commitment to the important cause of reducing tobacco use in our state.
The CTFWV will be focused on advocating for policies that reduce, with the intent to eliminate, tobacco use (including e-cigarettes) in West Virginia. For more information, visit their website at www.wvtobaccofree.com or Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter at @wvtobaccofree.
The Coalition for a Tobacco-Free West Virginia (CTFWV) is a statewide organization made up of private citizens and member organizations representing a cross-section of West Virginia, including health care organizations, public and private businesses, schools, civic organizations, and interested individuals.