DJ is a freshman at Juneau Douglas High School and is a leader within his local youth coalition, Juneau Teens Against Tobacco Use. DJ helped to strengthen Juneau's smoke-free law by testifying before the city assembly, and he continues to advocate that the assembly tighten a loophole in the ordinance. The loophole allows bars and restaurants with bar areas to choose to allow smoking if they limit their patrons to age 18 and older. DJ has also worked with other TATU members to write a public service announcement that was broadcast on a local radio station and helped to organize a display of 1200 empty pairs of shoes to symbolize the 1200 Americans who die every day because of tobacco for the Tobacco-Free Kids' Kick Butts Day. Through his work with TATU, DJ has had the opportunity to present to students in elementary and middle schools throughout the Juneau area, reaching hundreds of young people with his message.
"DJ DeRego and other young leaders from across the nation are making great strides against youth tobacco addiction and their voices are being heard," said Matthew L. Myers, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids president.