Board of Directors | Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
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Connor Lam

2024 Barrie Fiske National Youth Advocate of the Year 
Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
Pleasanton, CA

The Barrie Fiske National Youth Advocate of the Year Award is presented to one exceptional young advocate in the U.S. who has demonstrated a commitment to tobacco prevention in their state and community. The award pays tribute to the extraordinary life and work of the late Barrie Fiske, a tireless tobacco control champion and longtime member of our Board who used her strong voice to fight for change.

Since he was 11 years old, Connor Lam has used his voice and memories of his beloved grandfather to fuel his drive to take on Big Tobacco, educate his peers and advocate for policies to reduce tobacco use. Connor and his grandfather spent countless hours playing chess — an important form of communication for the two, given his immigrant grandfather’s limited English. Connor also remembers his grandfather’s persistent cough resulting from smoking cigarettes since childhood. 

Angered by how the tobacco industry still targets kids, Connor was compelled to act. In 2020, he rallied fellow students to testify before the Pleasanton City Council, resulting in a new local law that prohibited sales of flavored tobacco, banned tobacco retailers near schools and established tobacco retailer licenses. Two years later, he organized an event with the mayor, community leaders and youth to report on the law’s positive impact. He also worked to ensure effective enforcement of the law and similar measures in neighboring towns. 

Statewide, Connor was active in the campaign to pass the 2020 California law ending flavored tobacco sales and the subsequent ballot referendum to uphold it. At the federal level, he met with California members of Congress to urge their support for the FDA’s rules to prohibit menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars and for efforts to clear the market of flavored e-cigarettes. 

To connect with and educate peers, Connor invented ConGames and launched a video game, Deception, highlighting how Big Tobacco deceives young people. He is currently developing an interactive game exposing how the tobacco industry harms the environment. 

Connor is committed to bringing people together and achieving change through policy and politics. He wants to take his advocacy global and help his grandfather’s village in the Philippines reduce tobacco use and prevent the devastating health issues that plagued his grandfather.