New Programs Combat Youth Vaping Via Text Message
Vaping by youth has become what the U.S. Surgeon General calls an epidemic. In response, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health has developed an awareness campaign with materials for middle and high school youth in addition to offering two new services for teens and pre-teens who want to quit tobacco and nicotine.
In Massachusetts, 20% of high school students reported currently using e-cigarettes; many are unaware of the facts about and the dangers of vaping. The campaign found at mass.gov/vaping provides facts for young people comparing vapes and cigarettes: both put nicotine and cancer-causing chemicals in the body and both are highly addictive and dangerous for young people. Printed materials for teens and pre-teens, including a handout, poster and mirror clings, are available to order or download at https://massclearinghouse.ehs.state.ma.us/category/Vaping.html along with useful information for adults.
The vaping epidemic has led parents, schools and youth-serving organizations to struggle with how to help young people who are addicted to nicotine and want to quit. Now, two new programs are available to help Massachusetts teens and pre-teens become nicotine- and tobacco-free.
THIS IS QUITTING
This is Quitting powered by truth® is a texting program for young people who want to quit vaping. It is a free, confidential 30-day program during which youth receive texts with information, tips, and support. They receive daily text messages to help them prepare to quit and supportive texts from young people who have been through the program. They can also text “CRAVE,” “SLIP,” or “STRESS” at any time for support, or “MASSINFO” for information specific to Massachusetts. Young people may sign up even if they aren’t ready to quit – the texts they receive will give them things to think about when making that decision.
To enroll in the program, text “VapeFreeMass” to 88709. Young people may also connect with their school nurse, counselor, or coach to help get them started.
The program also serves as a resource for parents/guardians looking to help their children who vape.
Parents and other adults can also text “QUIT” to (202) 899-7550 to sign up to receive text messages designed specifically for parents of vapers.
Note: This is Quitting powered by truth® is a national program. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health, in collaboration with the University of Massachusetts Medical School Center for Tobacco Treatment Research & Training, has partnered with truth® to offer messaging and information specific to Massachusetts youth.
MY LIFE, MY QUIT
My Life, My QuitTM is a specially-designed program to help young people quit vaping or other tobacco products. My Life, My QuitTM provides five free and confidential coaching sessions by phone, live text, or chat with specially-trained youth coach specialists. Young people may text “START MY QUIT” to (855) 891-9989 or call toll-free 1-855-891-9989 for real-time coaching. They can also visit mylifemyquit.com to sign up online, chat with a live coach, get information about vaping and tobacco, and find activities to help them quit. The program can send out materials and a certificate at the end of the program.
My Life, My QuitTM is a program of National Jewish Health, the vendor for the Massachusetts Smokers’ Helpline. The My Life, My QuitTM program combines best practices for youth tobacco cessation adapted to include vaping and new ways to reach a coach using live text messaging or online chat.
Specially trained youth coach specialists emphasize that the decision to stop is personal, and provide information to help cope with stress, navigate social situations and support developing a tobacco-free identity.
For more information about My Life, My QuitTM visit mylifemyquit.com and click on Parents/Guardians under the Resources tab.
Concerned adults can learn much more about vaping at GetOutraged.org. People may see what vaping products look like and get answers to frequently asked questions. A toolkit of resources for schools and community-based organizations is available there, as well.
Talking with young people about vaping is essential — teens and pre-teens need to know that vaping is harmful and that help is available for those who want to quit. To learn more, visit GetOutraged.org or contact Ashley Hall, MS, Program Manager of the Northeast Tobacco-Free Community Partnership at (978) 722-2864 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Northeast Tobacco-Free Community Partnership supports communities’ efforts to lower smoking prevalence and exposure to secondhand smoke; enhances state and local tobacco control efforts by exposing tobacco industry tactics; mobilizes the community to support and adopt evidence-based policies; and changes social norms. Funded by the Massachusetts Tobacco Cessation and Prevention Program, Community Partnerships serve as a resource for local coalitions, health and human service agencies, municipalities, and workplaces on tobacco intervention efforts.