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State Honoree

Photo of State Honoree Isabel Berman

Isabel Berman

Cape Elizabeth, Maine

Isabel Berman, 17, of Cape Elizabeth, Maine, a senior at Cape Elizabeth High School, made a video to educate middle-level students about the dangers of e-cigarettes and to discourage them from vaping. Two years ago, Isabel noticed a marked increase in vaping at her school–in locker rooms, school bathrooms, even in classrooms. “Addictions were taking over the lives of many students as vaping became the norm,” Isabel said. “While many students thought it would be a fad, they quickly became addicted to the nicotine.” Isabel knew what she wanted to do: make a video to get the message out that vaping is dangerous, and try especially to reach middle school students before they start the habit.

After meeting a young woman who had become addicted to vaping but had been able to quit, Isabel decided she would create the video around her and her mother. Isabel began researching to learn everything she could about the consequences of vaping and how the e-cigarette industry markets its products. She interviewed doctors, a substance abuse professional, parents and students to get different perspectives. Isabel then wrote a script and shot and edited the video herself, focusing on vaping and topics such as peer pressure, refusal skills and the fragile nature of the developing brain. Her video has now been incorporated into her school district’s middle school health curriculum, and has been shown at multiple community forums. “My video has been viewed by about 800 different individuals,” said Isabel. “It has been an important discussion starter.”