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Anti-Vaping Campaign has Maine Teens Texting to Quit

(WAGM)
Published: Jun. 3, 2020 at 1:52 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA — A new anti-vaping campaign from the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) helps young people understand the risks of vaping and offers texting to support youth who want to quit.

Governor Mills directed Maine CDC to launch the campaign in response to the increase in e-cigarette use reported by state high school and middle school students. The trend mirrors a national increase in vaping by youth during recent years.

The campaign, which launched in April and will continue at least through the end of 2020, reaches teens in Maine through television, Hulu, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, YouTube, and the website VapeFreeMaine.com. The website and digital campaign ads have a text-to-quit feature, allowing young people to send a free, anonymous text message to campaign partner Truth Initiative, a national nonprofit public health organization. From April to mid-May, 117 individuals had reached out for help from the program.

Truth Initiative texts back daily inspirational and educational messages based on the user’s age, vaping frequency, and readiness to quit. Texters can also receive instant support through the text message service.

Many young people are still learning how using e-cigarettes, or “vaping,” affects their health. Almost all these products contain nicotine. Kids try it a few times, often get addicted, and then have trouble stopping. This campaign tackles the issue from both ends, building awareness to prevent youth from starting vaping and offering age appropriate support to those who want to quit.

The 2019 Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey found that 28.7 percent of Maine high school students reported currently using e-cigarettes (at least one time in the past 30 days), an increase from 15.3 percent in 2017. Maine's high school results align with the most recent data from the National Youth Tobacco Survey, which show that 27.5 percent of high school students throughout the United States reported having used e-cigarettes within the past 30 days.

The biennial Maine survey also showed an increase in high school students who reported ever having used an e-cigarette product, from 33.2 percent in 2017 to 45 percent in 2019. E-cigarette use was also up among Maine middle school students.

The new campaign follows Governor Mills signing into law in May 2019 a bill that bans use of e-cigarettes on school property and in the wake of her direction to Maine CDC to work with the Maine Office of the Attorney General to pursue increased compliance checks on e-cigarette purchases at retailers throughout Maine to prevent sales to youth. Maine also bans all online sales of e-cigarette products and licenses tobacco product sellers to ensure oversight.

For more information

• Visit VapeFreeMaine.com

• Youth who want to quit: text “MAINE” to 88709

• Parents with questions about youth vaping

• Contact the Maine Vaping Quit Support Line at 1-844-9NO-VAPE

• Or Email: NOVAPE@TheQuitLink.com

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