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Natalie Coughlin Is Spokesperson for America's Youth in Fighting Tobacco on Kick Butts Day  -- March 25, 2005

WASHINGTON D.C., March 25. TWO-TIME Olympic gold medalist Natalie Coughlin has joined with the Campaign For Tobacco-Free Kids to promote the 10th anniversary of Kick Butts Day.

Coughlin won five medals - two gold, two silver and a bronze - in the Athens Olympics last summer, making her the most decorated female athlete at those Games. Upon doing so, Natalie became only the third American woman to win five swimming medals in a single Olympics.

Kick Butts Day, to be held on April 13, is the Campaign's annual celebration of youth activism and leadership in the fight to reduce tobacco use and its deadly consequences.

"I am excited to serve as the national spokesperson for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids'10th anniversary of Kick Butts Day," said Coughlin.

"Over the past 10 years, we've made amazing progress in reducing youth smoking rates, and youth themselves have played a major role in this success. I look forward to meeting many of the remarkable kids who have worked so hard to support Kick Butts Day and together, I know we can achieve even greater reductions in smoking over the next 10 years."

Since 1997, when youth smoking rates reached an all-time-high, our nation has reduced smoking rates among high school students by 40 percent (from 36.4 percent in 1997 to 21.9 percent in 2003). On the 10th anniversary of Kick Butts Day, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids will celebrate this progress, showcase some of the remarkable youth who have contributed to this success, and commit to further reducing youth tobacco use.

"We are truly thrilled Natalie Coughlin will be our national spokesperson this year," said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. "Natalie represents the ultimate success that can be achieved by living a healthy, smoke-free life. Like most everyone in this country, she has been affected by smoking among her family and friends and has seen the harm it can cause."

The Campaign expects more than 1,500 Kick Butts Day events across the country involving tens of thousands of youth.