Our View: New service will help teens quit vaping, tobacco

Published 9:42 am Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Access to treatment is one of the keys to quitting any addiction. 

As teen use of e-cigarettes and vaping devices surges, the state is taking steps to help young people quit. 

The Kentucky Department for Public Health announced this week that along with the Cabinet for Health and Family Services it is launching a free service to help teens quit smoking, vaping and other tobacco products. 

The service, “My Life, My Quit,” went live around the Commonwealth Nov. 12. 

Teenagers who want to stop using e-cigarettes or other tobacco products can text or call the toll-free My Life, My Quit number: 1-855-891-9989, according to a press release issued Monday. Teens looking for help will then be connected to a “quit coach” who will provide free, confidential, real-time support. Each teen can get five sessions of personalized support through live texting, phone or online chat.

My Life, My Quit was designed with the input of young people, and employs quit coaches trained in cognitive and psycho-social development. My Life, My Quit was launched in July and Kentucky will be the thirteenth state to offer it.

Not only does this service aim to help teens quit, it meets them where they’re at: online and on their mobile devices. 

The service helps teens build a plan to quit while they develop strategies to cope with things like stress, withdrawal symptoms and social situations where they might be pressured or tempted to use tobacco products. 

For more information about My Life, My Quit, visit MyLifeMyQuit.com. 

Most resources for quitting tobacco are aimed at adults, so this initiative will be a vital tool in curbing the use of tobacco and vaping products among Kentucky’s young people. 

It comes at a critical time, too, considering teen use of vaping products continues to rise year after year. 

The 2018 Kentucky Incentives for Prevention Survey found nearly 25 percent of Kentucky’s 10th graders and 14 percent of eighth graders had used an e-cigarette in the last month. The U.S. Surgeon General has called the uptick in teen vaping an epidemic. 

This is even more worrisome as instances of vaping-related illnesses are also on the rise. 

According to Monday’s press release, “More than 2,000 people across the country have experienced serious respiratory issues and other symptoms as a result of using e-cigarettes, though the exact cause of their injuries remains unknown.”

In a state that was finally making strides against tobacco use, especially among young people, it is disheartening to see teens are once again being enticed to use products that are dangerous for their health and can be addictive for the rest of their lives. 

State health officials will need to continue taking steps to educate teens about the dangers and make quitting possible for Kentucky’s young people. This new resource will be a vital tool in the fight against this epidemic. 

Editorials represent the opinion of the newspaper’s editorial board. The board is comprised of publisher Michael Caldwell and Bluegrass Newsmedia editors Whitney Leggett and Ben Kleppinger. To inquire about a meeting with the board, contact Caldwell at 759-0095.