E-cigarettes changed life for every student at Sarah Ryan’s Massachusetts high school. At one point, the school had to shut down bathrooms where e-cigarette use had become rampant. But students were still trading Juul pods in hallways and sneaking hits in the middle of class. While younger, Sarah learned that relatives who smoked had become addicted at a very young age due to pervasive tobacco industry marketing; now, she was seeing it happen firsthand with e-cigarettes in a kid-friendly flavors.
Sarah knew that far more than bathroom closures would be needed to combat youth e-cigarette use.
In her hometown and state, Sarah advocates for a range of policies to fight youth e-cigarette use. She’s been rallying peers and testifying at local hearings since her freshman year, and she’s been successful at getting her hometown to restrict the sale of flavored tobacco products. She joined the U.S. Surgeon General at a press conference where he declared youth e-cigarette use an epidemic and published a letter to the editor in The New York Times calling for a ban on flavored tobacco products and has advocated for banning flavored e-cigarettes.
And she doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon.Back to Stories