PAVe: Big Tobacco Messed with the Wrong Moms

PAVe: Big Tobacco Messed with the Wrong Moms

Every week on “Big Tobacco Messed with the Wrong Moms”, hosts Meredith Berkman and Dorian Fuhrman, two of PAVe’s co-founders, will discuss the youth vaping epidemic, sharing important information about everything from serious health risks to quitting resources. Moderating important conversations with top public-health experts, these MOMvocates will speak directly to parents and other key stakeholders across the country, empowering them to join the fight to keep our kids from becoming an entire generation of nicotine addicts.


February 11, 2022 21 mins

This week’s episode highlights Sara, a New York State pediatrician who has been fighting the tobacco industry’s targeting of teens on multiple fronts: as a doctor seeking to protect her patients; as a PAVe volunteer warning other parents; and, most importantly, as a mom desperate to help her college-age son quit vaping. 

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Decades ago, tobacco Industry research  revealed that menthol amplifies nicotine addiction, especially in African Americans; the more melanin in a smoker’s skin,  the greater menthol’s impact. Armed with this knowledge, Big Tobacco methodically marketed menthol combustible cigarettes to African Americans; the more melanin in a smoker’s skin, the greater menthol’s impact.

(In 2009, when the federal government banned flavore...

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This is the last chance for parents to make our voices heard before FDA rules on JUUL!

Between now and September 9th the agency must decide whether or not to approve Juul and any flavored e-cigarette. Over the last several weeks, over two thousand parents have signed our letter urging FDA to deny all applications for these dangerous products. 

In this week's podcast episode, part of our “Back to school, not back to Juul” campaig...

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On today’s episode, Bloomberg News investigative reporter Lauren Etter discusses “The Devil’s Playbook: Big Tobacco, Juul, and the Addiction of a New Generation”. With FDA poised to rule on JUUL’s applications for its menthol and tobacco flavored products, Etter’s new book provides a deep dive into how the collision of Silicon Valley values and the industry’s predatory behavior created an adolescent public-health crisis that could ...

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In 2016, Paula’s son Walter had just started high school in Delaware when a friend offered him a cool-looking flavored e-cigarette that had just come on the market: a JUUL. 

Walter, a twin, and one of Paula’s four children, was almost immediately addicted, often vaping multiple mango or menthol JUUL pods every day.  Walter’s asthma, largely under control since childhood, returned with a vengeance:  the more Walter vaped, the more se...

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On this week’s episode, we hear the story of a Connecticut mom struggling to save her son from his nicotine addiction as a result of flavored e-cigarette products. 

Kathy from Connecticut’s story shows us that we are not alone and when we stand up and fight back against Big Tobacco, just how powerful we can all be.

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On this week’s episode, Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester of Delaware, author of the Quit Because of COVID-19 Act to expand Medicaid coverage for tobacco-cessation during the pandemic, explains that her passion on this issue is personal. 

A Former CEO of the Urban League and mother of two, Blunt Rochester blames the industry’s glamorizing of smoking--the Virginia Slims ads and Newport KOOL concerts she recalls from when she was you...

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On this week’s episode, Rae O’Leary, a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, describes how JUUL representatives offered hundreds of thousands of dollars and free products to hook her tribe on what they falsely described as “smoking cessation” products. 

In 2019, O’Leary, who leads public-health initiatives for Missouri Breaks in Eagle Butte, South Dakota on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation, testified about this meeting...

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On this week’s episode, Truth Initiative CEO and President Robin Koval explains why our kids tune us out but listen to a total stranger--as long as it’s a fellow teen. Truth has mastered the essential art of peer-to-peer messaging, and that’s why the new #quitwithus social-media campaign is going viral. 

Learn how you can access important resources like “This is Quitting”, a texting tool written in an authentic teen voice, and a “co...

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In this week’s episode, American Lung Association National President and CEO Harold Wimmer and Chief Marketing Officer Julia Fitzgerald introduce the organization’s parent-focused initiative encouraging adults to discuss the dangers of vaping with younger children. We love the “Get Your Head Out of the Clouds” campaign ( --created in partnership with the Ad Council--gently spoofing parents’ misinformation about ...

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In this week’s episode, Dr. Kelly Henning, public-health lead of Bloomberg Philanthropies, explains why Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a tobacco-control pioneer, views banning flavored e-cigarettes--and protecting kids from a lifetime of nicotine addiction--as essential to the ongoing campaign to end the industry’s predatory behavior. 

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On this week’s episode, we interview a small-business owner taking on Big Tobacco.  Mitch Bradley of Heebs East Main Grocery in Bozeman, Montana has stopped selling tobacco products in order to fight the industry’s predatory behavior toward teens-even though he feared his decision could hurt his bottom line. (We’re pleased to report it did not.) 

Inspired by his father’s health battles after a lifetime of tobacco use, Bradley has al...

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In this week’s episode, PAVe Maryland mom Donna speaks with remarkable candor about the painful discovery that her teenage son Jacob--an honor student and star athlete--had become dependent on flavored e-cigarettes and was severely addicted to nicotine. As her son’s grades plummeted and he developed respiratory problems, Donna pledged to help Jacob fight his addiction, mobilizing support from Jacob’s school, her family’s church, an...

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October 7, 2020 20 mins

In this week’s episode, named for our new #Vapes are Trash campaign, we discuss the environmental harms potentially caused by hazardous e-cigarette waste. 

Morgan, an 11th grade student, provides details about this Instagram competition developed with our youth initiative Students Against Vaping e-Cigarettes (SAVe) and explains why this issue should resonate with her peers. Share Morgan’s segment with your kids! 

Our second guest is ...

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The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) just released the latest figures about the youth vaping epidemic, the 2020 National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS). On today’s episode, Meredith and Dorian discuss how this important federal report contains some promising news: a decline in the number of teens regularly vaping, from 5.4 million to 3.6 million. However, these numbers, a return to 2018 figures, remain at “epidemic” levels, the term ...

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On today’s episode we interview Dr. Eduardo Sanchez, Chief Medical Officer for Prevention at the American Heart Association, about the public health lessons learned from the fight against smoking that can help solve the youth vaping epidemic. 

Sanchez, a former Texas Health Commissioner and father of four, explains why a multi-pronged approach that simultaneously focuses on identifying treatments for teen nicotine addiction, researc...

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August 23, 2020 19 mins

Dr. Valerie Yerger and Carol McGruder, co-founders of the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council ( have spent years fighting to protect African American kids from menthol cigarettes and the predatory behavior of Big Tobacco. 

A 2009 federal ban on flavored cigarettes exempted menthol, allowing the industry to continue its decades-long targeting of African American communities with menthol-flavored t...

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We have breaking news about the first confirmed link between vaping and COVID in teens. 

According to a study published yesterday in the Journal of Adolescent Health by PAVe advisory board member Dr. Bonnie Halpern-Felsher, Professor of Pediatrics at Stanford Medical School, teens who vape are five to seven times more likely to contract COVID. 

Could this research explain why so many young people have been infecte...

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Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, whose father died of lung cancer when Durbin was in high school, has battled Big Tobacco for decades. Twenty-five years ago, after a fateful flight from Phoenix to Chicago, he fought to ban smoking on airplanes, a public-health victory that revolutionized air travel and helped change public perceptions of smoking. 

Today, Senator Durbin’s battling Big Tobacco’s use of flavored e-cigarettes to addict ...

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How did three moms defeat JUUL in their hometown in California?

On today’s episode we hear the inspiring story of PAVe partners Jannell, Kristie and Paula, the women behind Flavors Addict Kids Livermore. In 2018, as the youth vaping epidemic exploded, these passionate moms-of-teens, furious that local vape shops were selling to minors, took action on the local level, calling for a ban on the sale of all vape devices in Livermore. Th...

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