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Is your kid using JUUL or another e-cigarette? Here’s how you can help them quit

If your child is one of the more than 3 million youth who are using e-cigarettes, like JUUL, they’re at risk for nicotine addiction.

Recent data show that e-cigarette use increased by 78 percent among high school students and by 48 percent among middle school students from 2017 to 2018. JUUL, the popular e-cigarette that tripled its market share in just over a year to own three-quarters of the entire market, is driving much of the increase in use.

JUUL e-cigarettes

With e-cigarette use among youth now at “epidemic proportions,” according to the Food and Drug Administration commissioner, many parents are searching for solutions to help their kids quit. If you are a parent and want to help your child quit using JUUL or other e-cigarettes, here are some tips for how to start from the experts behind the evidence-based, digital quit-smoking programs from Truth Initiative®, This is Quitting and BecomeAnEX®.

Get educated and then educate.

Parents need to be aware of the dangers of e-cigarette use, including the fact that young people who use e-cigarettes are four times more likely to start smoking cigarettes. E-cigarette use among youth also puts them at risk for early nicotine addiction, which can harm brain development and make adolescent brains more susceptible to other addictive drugs.

Additionally, nicotine levels in e-cigarettes are highly variable, with some reaching levels near combustible cigarettes. For example, the amount of nicotine in one standard JUUL cartridge is roughly equal to the amount of nicotine in a pack of cigarettes, or about 200 puffs, according to the product website. On top of that, the maker of JUUL claims the product delivers nicotine up to 2.7 times faster than other e-cigarettes.

Many youth aren’t even aware that they’re consuming nicotine when they use e-cigarettes, and 63 percent of young people who use JUUL don’t know that the product always contains nicotine. The majority of e-cigarette users think they vaped only flavoring, not nicotine, the last time they used a product. However, 99 percent of e-cigarettes sold in U.S. convenience stores, supermarkets and similar outlets in 2015 contained nicotine.

Provide tools and resources to quit.

While research on quitting e-cigarettes is in early stages, solid research on how to help people successfully quit traditional tobacco products already exists and many of the best practices can apply.

For example, digital tools and programs have been proven to help smokers quit. Given the success of its digital quit-smoking programs This is Quitting and BecomeAnEX, Truth Initiative launched a first-of-its kind text message e-cigarette quit program to give young people, as well as their parents, the support they need. The free program was created with input from teens, college students and young adults who have attempted to, or successfully, quit e-cigarettes. It’s tailored by age group to give teens and young adults appropriate quitting advice, and offers tips, encouragement and a sense of community. It also serves as a resource for parents, providing information on additional supports like nicotine replacement therapy.

The new e-cigarette quit program from Truth Initiative is one way to get your child support. To access to the program, users can text “QUIT” to (706) 222-QUIT.

Be positive and supportive.

Quitting expert Dr. J. Taylor Hays, M.D., a professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and director of the Mayo Clinic Nicotine Dependence Center, offered some tips for supporting a loved one while they quit smoking that can also apply to quitting e-cigarettes.

Quitting nicotine is hard, and often takes more than one try. “Offer encouragement; affirm how proud you are of their effort,” Hays said. He suggests giving extra attention, being open to how you can be helpful and celebrating accomplishments often.

For more information on quitting e-cigarettes, visit truthinitiative.org/quitecigarettes.