In an effort to help teenagers stop vaping, the Kentucky Department for Public Health has launched a free service called “My Life, My Quit.” The service allows teens who want to quit using electronic cigarettes or other tobacco products to text or call a toll-free number, 1-800-891-9989, and be connected with a “quit coach” who will provide up to five confidential, free sessions to help the teen create a personalized quit plan. “The quit coach will help them develop strategies to cope with stress, address symptoms of withdrawal, and navigate social situations,” says the news release. “We know how difficult it is for young people to find effective help quitting tobacco products, especially help that is tailored just for them,” the health department’s Elizabeth Anderson-Hoagland said in the release. “But we also know that with help and support, young people can successfully quit tobacco, including vaping.” E-cigarette use among Kentucky’s teens nearly doubled from 2016 to 2018, with more than one in four high-school seniors and one in seven eighth-graders reporting use last year, according to the Kentucky Incentives for Prevention study. Bailey Loosemore of the Louisville Courier Journal reports in detail about the difficulties in finding help for teens who want to quit vaping. She writes, “As the health community plays catch-up with the electronic devices, advocates admit little research has been done on cessation for teens.” A Louisville mother told Loosemore about her son who at age 17 started using Juul products, the most popular brand of e-cigarette. She said at minimum he used “at least a pod a day,” which is the equivalent of a full pack of cigarettes. This, she said, has led to an addiction to nicotine that he is unable to kick, despite trying several nicotine replacement therapies. He is now 19. The mother said she has since learned that “patches cannot replace the amount of nicotine that’s in these pods” and that they are looking at inpatient therapy programs as an option for her son. “He wants to stop,” she told Loosemore. “I’m telling you, he can’t.” In a letter to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the mom writes, “There are countless victims like my son who desperately need help.” Loosemore offers several tips to help teens quit, including:
- Know the facts about vaping. Loosemore suggests The American Lung Association and Teen.smokefree.gov as resources.
- Be ready to quit. Loosemore writes that whether it’s an adult or a teen, experts say a person wont’ quit vaping or smoking unless they want to — so be patient.
- Form a support group. Experts say it increases your odds of quitting.
- Download an app. Loosemore offers several options: Truth Initiative; SmokeFree.gov; Truthinitiative.org/thisisquitting; QuitSTART; MyLifeMyQuit.com.
- Consider counseling.