'This is Quitting' is a first-of-its-kind text message-based quit vaping program to address escalating youth vaping epidemic

Newton, New Jersey - With youth e-cigarette use now at epidemic proportions, and teen vaping on the rise in New Jersey, Tobacco Free for a Healthy New Jersey has partnered with Truth Initiative to offer its This is Quitting quit vaping text message program to NJ’s teens and young adults. The first-of-its-kind innovative program was created with input from teens, college students, and young adults who have attempted to or successfully quit e-cigarettes. The program is tailored by age group to give appropriate recommendations about quitting vaping. Since its launch in January 2019, This is Quitting has enrolled 260,000 teens and young adults nationwide. Moreover, preliminary peer-reviewed data published in Nicotine & Tobacco Research from Truth Initiative 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.

“TFHNJ is working hard to educate youth on the dangers of e-cigarettes and vaping. It is important to connect NJ Youth who need access to quit services in a form that will appeal to them,” said Diane Litterer, CEO of New Jersey Prevention Network,  “The collaboration with This is Quitting will provide teens and young adults with the tools to quit at their fingertips.”

Data from the 2019 National Youth Tobacco Survey show the youth e-cigarette epidemic is getting worse 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.  In New Jersey, the current high school vaping rate is 27.6%.

This resource is especially important for teens and young adults, for whom nicotine is especially dangerous. Research shows that exposure to nicotine among youth is particularly dangerous since it has been shown to have an effect on key brain receptors, making young people more susceptible to nicotine addiction.

Young people who are looking to quit vaping can enroll in This is Quitting by texting VAPEFREENJ to 88709. Enrolled participants will receive one support text per day prior to and at least 60 days after their quit date. If someone is looking to end their relationship with e-cigarettes but is not yet ready to set a quit date, the program will still send at least four weeks of messages focused on building skills and confidence to prepare for quitting. Users can receive on-demand support for cravings, stress, slips, and a desire for more tips or inspiration in addition to their scheduled interactive messages. Upon completion of the program, users will receive periodic text messages and may continue to use supportive keywords for as long as needed.

“Many young people who started vaping now want to quit, but they don’t know how,” said Dr. Amanda Graham, Chief of Innovations at Truth Initiative. “It’s clear that This is Quitting is meeting a need for tens of thousands of young people through a channel they’re comfortable with. The fact that young people are setting a quit date the day they enroll shows that they are eager to break free from vaping. Our program allows them to get support discreetly and anonymously without having to disclose to an adult that they are vaping.”  

Through its digital quit-smoking programs This is QuittingBecomeAnEX, and the EX® Program, Truth Initiative has a long history of innovation around developing engaging and effective quit programs. “Quitting e-cigarettes can be isolating for young people,” added Graham. “Text messaging is a proven, powerful strategy to deliver interventions that drive behavior change. We’ve taken input directly from young people and positioned This is Quitting as a supportive, non-judgmental friend, with text messages written in the first person or as quotes from other users.”

Flyers and palm cards with the text code and number will be distributed to schools and other community partners across New Jersey who engage with youth and young adults. For youth to join This is Quitting text VAPEFREENJ to 88709.   For more information about the program or to request materials contact Tobaccofreenj@njpn.org.