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truth Takes to TikTok To Talk Vaping And The Immune System During COVID-19

With research proving increased risk of COVID-19 diagnosis for youth e-cigarette users, challenge inspires young people to get creative in boosting their immune systems and offers resources for quitting vaping

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According to a new Truth Initiative® survey, nearly half of young people (49%) are more concerned about their health during the pandemic. With this research in mind, truth is launching a TikTok challenge as part of its “Vaping vs. Immune Systems with Dr. Rutland” campaign to encourage people to get creative when it comes to boosting their immune system health. This latest anti-vaping effort from truth, featuring a physician known for his popular youth-focused approach, directly addresses misperceptions around e-cigarettes and the impact of vaping on the immune system during COVID-19.

The #ImmuneUpVapesDown TikTok challenge will ask users to come up with their own immune boosting concoction, record themselves drinking the immune boosting drink and share their reaction using the hashtag #ImmuneUpVapesDown. To encourage participation, truth is partnering with five TikTok influencers including Demi Bagby, Strawhat Dan, Eitan Bernath, Kelsey Shade and Boopyape (Abe Yoon). The challenge will launch on Tuesday, September 29th and run through Thursday, October 1st.

Vaping vs. Immune Systems with Dr. Rutland, which is currently airing across broadcast, digital and social networks, explains how vaping can damage lungs and weaken the immune system. truth, the proven-effective and nationally recognized youth smoking, vaping and nicotine prevention campaign from Truth Initiative, partnered with Dr. Cedric "Jamie" Rutland, a pulmonary and critical care physician at the University of California Riverside best known for his well-known youth-focused approach to sharing critical health information. Dr. Rutland hosted an Instagram Q&A where young people asked direct questions about vaping and its impact on their health.

This campaign comes at a time when recent data from the FDA and CDC show a dramatic increase in the use of menthol and disposable e-cigarettes.  While new data reflect a decline in current e-cigarette use since 2019, 3.6 million U.S. youths still used e-cigarettes in 2020, and among current users, more than eight in 10 reported using flavored e-cigarettes.

“During this time it’s more important than ever to keep our bodies healthy and our immune systems strong. I'm very excited to partner with truth to share the facts around e-cigarette use and encourage everyone to support healthy living,” said TikTok Influencer Demi Bagby. "I'm participating in the #ImmuneUpVapeDown challenge and using my platform to help end youth e-cigarette addictions.”

Overcoming nicotine addiction is difficult under normal circumstances, but especially during uncertain times like these. For teens and young adults looking to quit, This is Quitting is a first-of-its-kind, free and anonymous, text-based, quit vaping program from truth. More than 200,000 young people have enrolled since the program was first introduced in January 2019. Intentionally developed with input from young people, This is Quitting offers digital resources and messages from teens who have successfully quit. Preliminary data about the program published in Nicotine & Tobacco Research show after just two weeks of using This is Quitting, more than half of participants — 60.8% — reported that they had reduced or stopped using e-cigarettes. Teens and young adults can text “DITCHVAPE” to 88709 and get immediate help.

In addition to the new truth campaign and This is Quitting resource, truth will also release a youth-led e-cigarette prevention curriculum for high school students in Fall 2020. 

For more information about truth, please visit, thetruth.com. For more information on This is Quitting, please visit truthinitiative.org/thisisquitting

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