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Truth Initiative Announces Clinical Trial to Evaluate Its Youth Quit Vaping Program

Groundbreaking Study, Launching Today, Will Assess Effectiveness of Text Message-Based Intervention Designed to Help Teens & Young Adults Quit Vaping

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Truth Initiative®, the nonprofit organization behind the truth® youth tobacco prevention campaign, today launched the first-ever national randomized trial to evaluate its quit vaping program for young people. The study will evaluate the organization’s free and anonymous text message program for teens and young adults called This is Quitting. Since developing and launching the program in January 2019 in response to the nation’s youth vaping epidemic, nearly 70,000 young people have enrolled, demonstrating the appeal of a text message program and the massive demand for quit vaping support.

Promising observational data published in June 2019 show encouraging results with more than half of users (60.8%) reporting that they had reduced or stopped using e-cigarettes after just two weeks. Building on that data, this study will evaluate the effectiveness of This is Quitting in helping young adults aged 18-24 to quit vaping using a rigorous randomized design. Young adults who use e-cigarettes will be recruited online and followed for 6 months post-treatment to measure vaping behavior. The study will also examine the ways through which the program drives changes in behavior to provide important information about patterns of e-cigarette use and motivations for quitting. The study is being funded by Truth Initiative, with support from a grant from the CVS Health Foundation.

The youth vaping crisis

Data from the newly released 2019 National Youth Tobacco Survey show the youth e-cigarette epidemic continues to worsen with an alarming 27.5% of high schoolers vaping (up from 20.8% in 2018), 21.4% of whom report using e-cigarettes every day. Altogether, more than 5 million youth now vape in the U.S. The popularity of e-cigarettes was largely fueled by JUUL, the USB-like e-cigarette with high nicotine content that is easy to conceal, which currently comprises nearly two-thirds of the market.

Nearly all e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which has known health effects on brain development. Specific risks for young people include nicotine addiction, mood disorders, permanent lowering of impulse control, as well as negative impacts on attention and learning. There is strong evidence that e-cigarette use can lead to the use of other tobacco products, such as deadly cigarettes.

“The scientific, clinical and public health communities are desperate for proven, evidence-based resources to address the vaping epidemic,” said Dr. Amanda Graham, chief of innovations at Truth Initiative. “This is Quitting builds on our expertise in delivering engaging digital programs for tobacco cessation and the best available evidence about how to help young people break free from nicotine addiction. This study will provide much-needed information about what works when it comes to quitting vaping and will help us continue to refine the program.”

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