The dangers of vaping and how to get help

Mass Appeal

(Mass Appeal) – An estimated 1 in 5 high school students currently use e-cigarettes. The misconception that vape pens are harmless is contributing to the epidemic. Sara Moriarty joins us to dispel some of the rumors around vaping and to tell us how to get help.

Gándara Center is the host agency for the Hampden County Tobacco Free Community Partnership (TFCP), which has spearheaded an effort to increase public knowledge of the dangers of vaping and the fact that candy and fruit-flavored vaping products are designed to lure middle school and high school students.

The campaign found at mass.gov/vaping provides facts for young people comparing vapes and cigarettes: both put nicotine and cancer-causing chemicals in their body and both are highly addictive and dangerous for young people. Printed materials for youth, including a handout, poster and mirror clings, are available to order or download at https://massclearinghouse.ehs.state.ma.us/category/Vaping.html along with useful information for adults.

The vaping epidemic has led parents, schools and youth-serving organizations to struggle with how to help youth who are addicted to nicotine and want to quit. Now, two new programs are available to help Massachusetts youth become nicotine- and tobacco-free.

This is Quitting powered by truth® is a texting program for young people who want to quit vaping. It is a free, confidential 30-day program during which youth receive texts with information, tips, and support. They receive daily text messages to help them prepare to quit and supportive texts from young people who have been through the program. They can also, text “CRAVE,” “SLIP,” or “STRESS” at any time for support, or “MASSINFO” for information specific to Massachusetts. Youth can sign up even if they aren’t ready to quit – the texts they receive will give them things to think about when making that decision.

To enroll in the program, youth text “VapeFreeMass” to 88709. Youth can also connect with their school nurse, counselor, or coach to help get them started.

The program also serves as a resource for parents/guardians looking to help their children who vape.
Parents and other adults can also text “QUIT” to 202-899-7550 to sign up to receive text messages designed specifically for parents of vapers.

Note: This is Quitting powered by truth® is a national program. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health, in collaboration with the University of Massachusetts Medical School Center for Tobacco Treatment Research & Training, has partnered with truth® to offer messaging and information specific to Massachusetts youth.

My Life, My QuitTM is a specially designed program to help young people quit vaping or other tobacco products. My Life, My QuitTM provides five free and confidential coaching sessions by phone, live texting, or chat with specially-trained youth coach specialists. Youth can text “Start My Quit” to 855-891-9989 or call toll-free 1-855-891-9989 for real-time coaching. They can also visit mylifemyquit.com to sign up online, chat with a live coach, get information about vaping and tobacco, and find activities to help them quit. The program can send out materials and a certificate at the end of the program.

My Life, My QuitTM is a program of National Jewish Health, the vendor for the Massachusetts Smokers’ Helpline. The My Life, My QuitTM program combines best practices for youth tobacco cessation adapted to include vaping and new ways to reach a coach using live text messaging or online chat. Specially trained youth coach specialists emphasize that the decision to stop is personal, and provide information to help cope with stress, navigate social situations and support developing a tobacco-free identity.

Concerned adults can learn much more about vaping at GetOutraged.org. You can see what vaping products look like and get answers to frequently asked questions. A toolkit of resources for schools and community-based organizations is available there as well.

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