Massachusetts advocacy directors honored for anti-tobacco efforts

Tobacco Free Mass presented its Blake Cady Award for Excellence in Tobacco Control this year to Allyson Perron Drag of the American Heart Association and Marc Hymovitz of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.

The pair are being recognized for their outstanding work on landmark tobacco prevention and cessation legislation and for their tireless efforts to end the harms of tobacco use in Massachusetts.

“Allyson Perron Drag and Marc Hymovitz have dedication, integrity and a willingness to find a way to make the impossible possible – qualities that have enabled them to such good work here in Massachusetts,” said Dr. Lauren Smith, chair of Tobacco Free Mass. “They are fully committed to ending the harm of tobacco use here in the commonwealth.”

Perron Drag is the director of government relations for the American Heart Association in Massachusetts. She has worked for the Association since 2005.

Perron Drag and Hymovitz worked on landmark youth tobacco prevention legislation, helping Massachusetts become the first state in the nation to end the sale of menthol cigarettes and the first to ban the sale of tobacco in pharmacies. They also ensured that people have free access to medicine and counseling to help them quit smoking and using other kinds of tobacco.

Tobacco Free Mass is a privately-funded, independent coalition that advocates for funding and policies that support tobacco prevention and cessation and the reduction of exposure to secondhand smoke. The coalition advocates for funding and policies to reduce death and disease caused by tobacco use.

Tobacco Free Mass carries out its mission with the help of dedicated member organizations from across the state.