A Brief with Lasting Ideas

PROVO, Utah – Nov 27, 2019 – A 2018 survey of high school students across the United States revealed that approximately one-third— 37.3 percent—of senior high school students used a vaping device in the past year. As vaping becomes an increasingly popular activity among young adults, BYU student Cade Hyde is dedicating his time to curbing the epidemic that he believes plagues his generation.

Hyde dove headfirst into the anti-youth vaping movement in 2016 while a senior at Davis High School in Kaysville, Utah. After his school-resource officer brought a lobbyist to present on the issue of teenage vaping, Hyde knew it was a problem he wanted to help solve. His efforts in high school did not go unnoticed, winning both the 2015 Crime Prevention Specialists of the Year by the Utah Crime Council and the 2016 Youth Award by the Utah Public Health Association. Now a sophomore at BYU, Hyde works with BYU Marriott’s Ballard Center for Economic Self-Reliance to raise awareness and inform students and parents of the effects that vaping can have on youth.

After attending the presentation about teenage vaping in high school, Hyde organized a coalition, Students Against Electronic Vaping, or SAEV for short. Over time, the coalition grew outside the walls of Davis High School as students across the state worked to support legislation against vaping. The students gained support from city councils, Intermountain Healthcare, Utah PTA, and other organizations to back a bill that would raise the tax on electronic vaping in the state of Utah.

According to Hyde, research has shown that taxation of e-cigarettes is the best way to combat the epidemic among youth. “Teens are much more susceptible to price change,” he says. “When the price of a product is raised, it becomes much harder for a teenager, whose income is more elastic, to continue to spend money on it.”

In March 2016, after spending months supporting the bill, over three hundred students attended an early-morning committee meeting where the bill would be discussed. Despite the coalition’s efforts, the bill was tabled, meaning no immediate action against e-cigarettes would be taken.

A few months later, Hyde graduated high school and left to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. After returning home from his mission in summer 2018, Hyde hoped to see improvement in youth vaping statistics, but that wasn’t the case. “Nationwide youth-vaping rates doubled from 10 percent to 20 percent just in the two years I was on my mission,” he says. “Vaping had become a problem that was addicting my generation.”

Instead of throwing in the towel and letting others solve the problem, Hyde jumped right back into the movement against teenage vaping. “I had put in so much time and effort before leaving on my mission,” he says. “I knew I needed to keep working to solve the issue.” Since then, Hyde turned his coalition into a nonprofit and continues to raise awareness and support action against teenage vaping.

Through SAEV, Hyde continues to lobby for anti-vaping legislation but recognizes that may be only part of the solution. “Legislative work is just a Band-Aid on the problem,” he says. “To really solve the problem, we need to change our culture.” Hyde hopes to accomplish this through social media and video campaigns, educational projects, and disseminating information about the dangers of e-cigarettes.

One of the ways Hyde is getting information out about teenage vaping is through an online resource made possible through BYU Marriott called Ballard Brief. A website ran by BYU Marriott’s Ballard Center, Ballard Brief is a collection of essays written by experts on current social issues across the world. The essays are intended to help those interested in social impact to first understand the issue before attempting to solve the problem. Using the knowledge he’s gained about teenage vaping since his senior year of high school, Hyde recently completed writing a brief about the topic. Hyde’s experience writing the brief has changed the way he approaches the epidemic.

“I’ve always been passionate about this problem, but I didn’t understand it as well as I could have,” Hyde says. “I've begun to understand so much more through writing for Ballard Brief. I’ve developed a better understanding of what my nonprofit can actually do to solve this problem. Writing this brief has been really eye-opening.”

Hyde hopes to continue to find opportunities to learn and gain experience from the Ballard Center that will help him and SAEV make a difference in Utah and in the world. “I’m gathering the resources and abilities I need to actually make a difference in the world,” he says. “The Ballard Center is helping me put the resources and the skills behind my own personal motivation and commitment.”

BYU Student Cade Hyde
BYU student Cade Hyde. Photo courtesy of the Ballard Center.

Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Paul Swenson