Many parents are wondering how to help their teens quit vaping or smoking. They feel more urgency than ever due to the vaping-related lung injuries occurring across the country. Quitting vaping or any tobacco product can be hard since these products contain nicotine, an extremely addictive substance. And criticizing or punishing a young person won’t help them break that nicotine addiction.
What’s a parent to do?
The good news is that there are free resources available to help young people quit.
To start, talk with your teens about your concerns and about quitting—that’s one of the most important things you can do. Here are a few tips:
- Be patient and ready to listen. Your goal is to have a conversation, not deliver a lecture. Deciding to try to quit is a process so begin that dialogue.
- Know that there’s no “perfect time” to talk and there’s no “perfect talk”. Any time is a good time to talk with your child. Think of this as a learning opportunity for both of you.
- Ask what your teen thinks. Be genuinely curious and open to learn what they know about vaping, why they vape or use other tobacco products, and what they think about quitting. Share what you know but concede that you don’t know all the answers.
- Offer ongoing support. Make sure they know that when they want to try to quit you will support them through the process. Encourage them to keep trying even when slip ups happen. Someone who feels supported is more likely to be able to quit for good.
Free Resources for Youth Adults
When your young person is ready to quit, tell them about two new free programs, This is Quitting powered by truth® and My Life, My Quit™. Both are available to help Massachusetts youth become nicotine- and tobacco-free.
- This is Quitting powered by truth® is a free and confidential texting program for young people who vape. Text “VapeFreeMass” to 88709. In partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
- My Life, My Quit TM has youth coach specialists trained to help young people by phone or text. Young people can call or text “Start My Quit” to 855-891-9989 for free and confidential help or sign up online at mylifemyquit.com.
Encourage your teen to speak with their healthcare provider about quitting. Youth can also visit teen.smokefree.gov for tips about quitting vaping and smoking; they can find additional information designed for them at mass.gov/vaping.
More information for parents, schools and concerned adults is available at GetOutraged.org. Parents can also text QUIT to (202) 899-7550 to sign up to receive text messages designed specifically for parents of vapers by truth® Initiative. With support and by using proven quit strategies, teens can become nicotine- and tobacco-free.
Want to learn more about recent changes to the MA State Tobacco Law? Read our recent blog post
Are you a teen who wants to quit vaping? Find out how to quit
The Greater Boston Tobacco-Free Community Partnership supports communities’ efforts to lower smoking prevalence and exposure to secondhand smoke; enhance state and local tobacco control efforts by exposing tobacco industry tactics; mobilizing the community to support and adopt evidence-based policies; and changing social norms. Funded by the Massachusetts Tobacco Cessation and Prevention Program, Community Partnerships serve as a resource for local coalitions, health and human service agencies, municipalities, and workplaces on tobacco intervention efforts. Contact Mary Cole at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.