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Quit vaping program from Truth Initiative also helping 18- to 24-year-olds abstain from cigarette smoking

Data show young people using the program are largely not taking up cigarettes once they quit vaping

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A new study published in Preventive Medicine shows that This is Quitting, a free and anonymous text message program to help young people quit vaping nicotine was also effective in promoting abstinence from cigarettes and other combusted tobacco products. These findings from Truth Initiative, the national public health organization dedicated to achieving a culture where young people reject smoking, vaping and nicotine are especially critical given high rates of smoking among young adult e-cigarette users and frequent transitions between products.

This study examined both vaping and smoking outcomes among 18- to 24-year-old young adults in a randomized clinical trial of This is Quitting, a first-of-its-kind text based quit vaping program run by Truth Initiative. All participants were e-cigarette users when they joined the study; 44% reported also smoking cigarettes or other combusted tobacco products (cigars or cigarillos). At the seven-month follow-up, young adults randomized to This is Quitting were more likely to report abstaining from both vaping and smoking compared to those randomized to control (26% vs 19%). The better outcome (both not smoking or vaping) was true for two important subgroups: young people who came into the study as exclusive vapers and those who both smoked and vaped.

The main findings of the randomized trial were previously reported in JAMA Internal Medicine, which focused on vaping outcomes exclusively. This just published Preventive Medicine study addressed a concern among health experts that helping young people quit vaping might result in them taking up smoking combustible tobacco products, which have known negative impacts on long-term physical health. The results did not support this concern, as only 4% of exclusive e-cigarette users who quit vaping reported using a combustible tobacco product at follow-up, comparable to data from other studies of tobacco use transitions that are common during young adulthood. The study findings show that promoting abstinence from e-cigarettes may actually help some young people avoid all tobacco products.

“Although we developed This is Quitting specifically to help young people quit vaping, our findings suggest that the support and skills young people receive from the program may help them abstain from cigarettes and other combusted tobacco products as well,” said Dr. Amanda Graham, Chief of Innovations at Truth Initiative, and lead author of the study. “This is especially encouraging as hundreds of young people enroll in the program every day, and we know a significant portion of them are vaping and smoking. Having a program that promotes abstinence from all forms of nicotine is critical to protecting the health of young people.”

Resources like This is Quitting play an important role in helping young people address nicotine addiction. This is Quitting is part of the nationally recognized and proven effective truth youth smoking, vaping and nicotine public education campaign from Truth Initiative. Since This is Quitting launched in 2019, the program has helped nearly 500,000 young people on their journey to quit. Young people can text “DITCHVAPE” to 88709 to enroll.

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