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New study: Quit-vaping program This is Quitting also helps prevent young e-cigarette users from smoking

Use of a text message quit vaping program is linked with not only helping young adults successfully quit e-cigarettes, but preventing the use of combustible tobacco products like cigarettes, cigars, and little cigars/cigarillos, according to a new Truth Initiative study published in Preventive Medicine.

Results from a randomized clinical trial showed that more young e-cigarette users who used the quit vaping program, This is Quitting, abstained from using e-cigarettes and combustible tobacco products (25.9%) compared to a control group that did not receive quitting support (18.5%). The research underscores that the program is not only successful in helping young people quit vaping, but also in ensuring that they don’t later use combustible tobacco products in place of e-cigarettes.

In 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 9.4% of 18-24-year-olds used e-cigarettes. Co-use of combusted tobacco products is common among young adult e-cigarette users, with 50–80% reporting current cigarette smoking.

Truth Initiative launched This is Quitting in 2019 specifically for teens and young adults looking to quit e-cigarettes. The free and anonymous text message program has enrolled nearly 500,000 young people to date, and provides young people with peer support, tailored advice, and coping strategies designed to help them quit vaping.

Past research has demonstrated that This is Quitting works: a randomized clinical trial published in JAMA Internal Medicine in 2021 showed that young adult e-cigarette users who used the text message-based quit program were one-third more likely to quit vaping at seven months compared to a control group that did not receive quit support. In addition to providing further evidence of the effectiveness of This is Quitting in helping young adults quit vaping, the new research also demonstrates that the intervention helped promote abstinence from combustible tobacco products – even though This is Quitting is not specifically tailored to those products.

The better outcome - neither smoking nor vaping – was held for two important subgroups: young people who came into the study as exclusive vapers and those who both smoked and vaped. Data also indicate that young people who quit vaping are not switching to combusted products when they give up e-cigarettes: only 4% of survey respondents who exclusively vaped at the start of the trial reported using combustible tobacco products in the last month, seven months later.

The authors suggest that quitting vaping may have positively impacted other tobacco use behaviors, or that some young adults may independently tailor quit-vaping programs to reject or quit all tobacco products. Although Truth Initiative developed This is Quitting specifically to help young people quit vaping, findings suggest it may also provide the support and skills training that young people use to promote abstinence from combustible tobacco products.

Resources to help young people quit vaping

This is Quitting is a free and anonymous text messaging program from Truth Initiative designed to help young people quit vaping. The first-of-its-kind quit program incorporates messages from other young people like them who have attempted to, or successfully quit, e-cigarettes. To join for free, teens and young adults can text DITCHVAPE to 88709.