Cofounder, Parents Against Vaping E-Cigarettes
The proportions of the epidemic are staggering: more than 3.6 million middle and high school-age kids are e-cigarette users.
With the number of kids using e-cigarettes up 48% among middle school-age kids and 78% among high school-age kids, vaping is the “most serious adolescent public health crisis” the U.S. has faced in decades, in the words of Parents Against Vaping E-Cigarettes.
Now, consumers are showing up at emergency rooms with “mysterious” symptoms.
Meredith Berkman cofounded PAVE in 2018, along with Diana Alessi and Dorian Fuhrman, after she discovered her son was part of that whole new generation getting hooked on nicotine. Berkman and Fuhrman have been building on their grassroots campaign since an unauthorized JUUL representative came into their sons’ ninth-grade classroom and promoted the product as “totally safe.”
Berkman’s voice is a force in the ongoing debate on how the country should grapple with nicotine use among young people. She’s put a human face to the unfolding crisis in the media and even on Capitol Hill, when in July 2019, she testified before the House Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy.
PAVE’s point of view will be especially prominent as the public scrutinizes the ways in which e-cigarette companies allegedly market toward young people. The group has previously advocated for the Food and Drug Administration to implement a “total ban on all flavors” so vaping will appeal less to kids.