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Most young e-cigarette users want to quit, 1 in 3 has tried in the past year

A majority of current young e-cigarette users surveyed say they intend to quit, with one-third reporting a past-year quit attempt and 15% aiming to quit in the next month, according to Truth Initiative research published in Preventive Medicine Reports.

These findings come as truth launches its latest campaign to support young people who want to quit vaping. “Quitters,” a new six-episode series dives deep into the journeys of young people who are making the decision to quit nicotine to show what quitting e-cigarettes really looks like. It follows the launch of Quit Together, which showed the real quit journeys of TikTok influencers Victoria AnnunziatoTosha and Jerry Purpdrank using This is Quitting, a first-of-its-kind, free and anonymous, text message quit vaping program that is now helping more than 275,000 young people quit.

The study – the first nationally representative estimate of young people’s interest in quitting e-cigarettes – found that more than half (54.2%) of the current e-cigarette users between 15 and 36 years old surveyed reported they intend to quit vaping, a number that is consistent with previous Truth Initiative surveys that have shown high interest in quitting among young users. As youth e-cigarettes use remains at epidemic levels – 19.6% of America’s high school students continue to use e-cigarettes, nearly 40% of whom reported doing so on 20 or more days out of the month, according to the 2020 National Youth Tobacco Survey – the study reveals important insights about young people and quitting e-cigarettes.

To enroll in This is Quitting, teens and young adults can text DITCHJUUL to 88709

Increased awareness of harm tied to quitting attempts and intentions

The study also found that quit attempts were linked to increased harm perceptions of e-cigarette use. E-cigarette users who attempted to quit vaping in the past year were associated with more than two times higher levels of harm perceptions. Those with greater harm perceptions had more than three times higher odds of intending to quit vaping in the next month.

A separate Truth Initiative study, published in Tobacco Control, also found a link between intentions to quit and perception of harm. Among current e-cigarette users, those who perceived risk of lung injury from vaping had twice the odds of intending to quit vaping compared to those with lower risk perceptions.

Multitude of reasons drives young people to quit

A previous Truth Initiative study published in Addictive Behaviors sheds light on the reasons young people to quit vaping. Teens and young adults enrolled in the quit vaping program This is Quitting from Truth Initiative said concerns about health (50.9%), cost (21.7%), the desire to be free from addiction (16%) and social factors such as others’ impressions of them (10.1%) drove them to quit vaping.  While health topped the list of reasons that drove young people to quit vaping, the study highlights the diverse experiences that motivated young e-cigarette users to quit in their own words and finds that health concerns were just one motivation to put their vapes down for good.

Findings that over half of young e-cigarette users want to quit and many have tried and failed to do so highlights “a critical need for policies and resources to promote and sustain e-cigarette cessation among young people,” the authors write.

The findings are based on data from surveys of young e-cigarette users between the ages of 15-36 conducted between September and December 2019. Current e-cigarette users (past 30-day use, not already quit) were drawn from the Truth Longitudinal Cohort, a national probability-based cohort sample. Data were collected from September to December 2019 (n=1158). Models estimated intentions to quit and past quit attempts with respect to harm perceptions, friend use, dependence, use frequency, combustible use and demographic factors.

Are you a parent of a young person who vapes? Parents can text QUIT to (202) 899-7550 to sign up to receive text messages designed specifically for parents of vapers.

Adults looking for support to quit vaping or stop using any tobacco product can visit BecomeAnEX.org, our free digital quit smoking platform that offers comprehensive web and mobile tools.