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How to support someone who wants to break up with their vape

When someone you care about decides to break up with vaping, it’s important to know how to support them. Parting ways with vaping can be difficult, and encouragement from friends and family can make a big difference.

There are many reasons why someone might want to end their toxic relationship with vaping. Truth Initiative researchers have analyzed reasons for quitting cited by young people enrolled in This is Quitting, a free and anonymous quit vaping program from Truth Initiative, and found that concerns about health and mental health, as well as social influence, are among the top reasons for quitting.

People who want to quit are not alone - according to a 2023 Truth Initiative survey, 67% of 15-to-24-year-old e-cigarette users surveyed said they were considering quitting as a New Year’s resolution. For many people, support from those closest to them can be the key to breaking up with their vape for good. Here are some tips for supporting someone as they start their quit-vaping journey.

Suggest writing a break-up letter

If someone you care about is ready to say goodbye to vaping, consider encouraging them to write a break-up letter to their vape or other tobacco product. You can also recommend that they sign up for texts through This Is Quitting, where they can receive guidelines for writing their break-up letter.

Here’s how some This is Quitting users ended their relationship with their vape and how you can be there for someone who is looking to do the same.

"…Our relationship hasn't been great. You caused me to stress over you and feel like I need you, when I don't. I am 14 and I don't need a relationship like this. You caused me to constantly want you when there are much more important things. I need to focus on my family, my friends, my school work, and honestly just my life. Do I really need you in my life forever? Do I want you? I am so glad I have the courage to quit you. I am so glad I am being freed from you. I am glad that I will never have to deal with you again” - Irish, age 14.

“Dear Vape, You feel nice sometimes, but overall, I feel like you are slowly killing me. We had good times, but it's time for us to split. You have done nothing but hurt me now” - Brandon, age 24.

Stay patient, positive, and encouraging

Quitting vaping can cause a wide range of withdrawal symptoms such as irritability and increased feelings of anxiety and depression. During the early days of quitting, it may be helpful to extend extra care and share words of encouragement with your friend. Consider sending them a care package, taking them out for a fun meal or activity, and talk about the positive outcomes that come with replacing a vape with healthier coping mechanisms. Don’t be afraid to ask them what they’d find helpful, too!

Keep in mind that being supportive is equally important when someone experiences setbacks in their journey to quit. It’s normal for people to need a few tries to figure out what quitting approaches will work for them. If someone relapses while trying to quit, avoid punishing or shaming them. Responding with compassion and understanding can go a long way and can help people get back on track. Be positive and arm them with information and reasons to quit vaping.

The more distractions, the better

Many quitters report that distractions are an important part of managing nicotine cravings. Hobbies and activities can help people take their mind off cravings, especially during times of stress or when cravings are strongest. In her episode of truth’s real-life quitting stories, Christina, 23, said that she would do a chore or make music during her first week of quitting vaping to keep her hands busy and her mind off her vape. Many people also report that exercise, which sends endorphins to the brain, can offer a distraction from vaping while improving your mood. Offering to join your friend in these activities or suggesting other distractions can be a huge help for people as they set out to quit.

Share tools and resources

Quitting vaping is one of the best things someone can do for their health, and there are tools to help. Sharing tips and quit-vaping resources is a great way to show that you care about someone as they embark on their journey to quit.

Hearing from people who have successfully quit can also be inspiring and motivating. There’s a whole community of people learning how to quit vaping, and many are willing to offer support and advice. Check out real-life quitting stories from truth and hear from young people who have moved on from their toxic relationship with vaping. In one of her videos, McCall Mirabella recommends using an app to track streaks of vape-free days, see how much money she’s saved, set up rewards, and celebrate quit milestones.

This is Quitting, the first-of-its-kind texting program from truth to help young people quit vaping, has also become a resource for over 700,000 young people. A randomized clinical trial found that young adults aged 18-24 who used This is Quitting had nearly 40% higher odds of quitting compared to a control group.

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Parents of young people who vape can also get support and resources to help their teen or young adult child quit vaping through EX, a free, digital quit-tobacco plan and online community of thousands of current and former tobacco users developed by Truth Initiative in collaboration with Mayo Clinic. It has helped more than 910,000 people develop the skills and confidence to successfully quit. Research has shown that following the EX quit plan quadruples a tobacco user’s chance of quitting.