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Durham Teen Takes On Corporation To Keep Kids From Smoking

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DURHAM, N.C. — It takes a lot of nerve to take on a big corporation, but a teenager in Durham is doing it. He is an ordinary teen making extraordinary efforts to keep kids from smoking.

Chad Bullock, 17, of Durham is getting recognition for diving into a life and death battle -- smoking.

"My grandmother, she smokes, and my grandfather died of lung cancer," Bullock said.

The Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids honored Chad in Washington, D.C., earlier in May for his leadership in the fight against tobacco use. He led a project opposing the Brown and Williamson Tobacco Company's 2004 Kool Mix marketing campaign, which used hip-hop images and music to market cigarettes.

Bullock and other teens did surveillance of stores and found that Kool Mix ads were located primarily in black communities.

"We drafted up a letter to Attorney General Roy Cooper and after we sent the letter, he got some of his attorney general friends and they eventually went together and drafted the lawsuit against tobacco companies and it was settled," he said.

The Kool Mix marketing campaign went up in smoke and now Bullock is taking his message to other businesses.

"I'm in a project now where I'm working to get Golden Corral to adopt a smoke-free policy," he said. "I've contacted the CEO of the company and talked with him on the phone a few times and through letters, and we're just thinking of some strategies to use to approach this."

"Chad is not scared of anything and one of the things I'm proud of about him is he doesn't let his age stop him or the title of anyone else intimidate him," said Aidil Collins, of Question Why Youth Empowerment Center.

It is estimated more than 20 percent of North Carolina high school students smoke. Bullock said he is especially proud of friends at school he has convinced to stop smoking, but he is still working on his grandmother.