Vaping cessation program offered for Michigan teens

Nearly 5 million teens across the United States are vaping and using tobacco, with very few programs designed to help them quit.

In an effort to help teens quit the habit, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is partnering with the National Jewish Health and eight other states on a tobacco cessation program designed to help teens who want to stop using tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes and vapes.

The new My Life, My Quit program includes educational materials designed for teens and created through focus groups with teens, subject matter experts and community stakeholders. Teens can text or call a toll-free number — 855-891-9989 — or they can visit MyLifeMyQuit.com for real-time coaching.

Through the program, teens work with a coach who listens and understands their unique needs, provides personalized support and helps them build a quit plan to become free from nicotine.

This offer for assistance comes as the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and local health departments are investigating a cluster of teenagers with severe lung disease who all reported recent vaping.

So far, eight patients from the Wisconsin counties of Milwaukee, Waukesha, and Winnebago presented with respiratory symptoms including cough, shortness of breath, and fatigue.

Wisconsin officials are currently investigating the possible cause of these illnesses. All patients reported vaping in the weeks and months prior to hospital admission. The names and types of products used remain unknown, and patient interviews are ongoing. Clinicians who become aware of cases similar to those described above are encouraged to report them to their local public health officer.

Parents, meanwhile, are encouraged to go to https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/tobaccoischanging/index.htm to learn more about the dangers of vaping and e-cigarettes, including how to identify products.

In Michigan, the School Health Survey System has shown an escalating rate of youth use of e-cigarettes in 2017-2018 compared to 2015-2016. Increases in 39 of the state’s counties ranged from 29 percent to 118 percent.

“We know more teens are vaping and using tobacco and may need help quitting,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, MDHHS chief medical executive and chief deputy director for health. “This new program combines best practices for tobacco cessation adapted to teens to include vaping and new ways for teens to reach quit coaches using real-time text messaging and online chat.”

My Life, My Quit provides youth access to tailored resources for quitting, including:

— Free and confidential help from a quit coach specially trained to listen to teens, help teens navigate social situations that involve tobacco or vaping, and find healthy ways to cope with stress.

— Teen-focused messages in promotional and educational materials — created with youth input — that encourage teens to quit vaping or using tobacco.

— Five coaching sessions via live text messaging or by phone on a dedicated toll-free number (855-891-9989) or online chat.

— Simplified online and mobile program registration to get teens to a coach quicker.

— Dedicated teen website with online enrollment, live chat with a coach, information about vaping and tobacco and activities to support quitting and stress relief.

— Ongoing text messages for encouragement throughout the quit process.

— Certificate of program completion.

For more information, go to MyLifeMyQuit.com.