More and more teenagers are using vaping and e-cigarette products, and in response there is a new vaping and tobacco cessation program for teens. According to the 2018 Iowa Youth Survey, 22.4% of 11th grade students currently use e-cigarettes. Sarah Smith with Prelude Behavioral Services says 43% of 11th graders in Washington County have tried e-cigarettes compared to 17% who have tried a regular cigarette, “Teenagers typically are not smoking cigarettes now a days, they’ve gotten those warnings, and then they’ve gotten messages from vaping companies themselves that say vaping is harmless. We now see that, you know, it’s not and there’s definitely dangers that aren’t taking 20 to 30 years to develop. These are kids who probably have been doing it for, I don’t know, a few years maybe because they haven’t been around for that long.”

The Iowa Department of Public Health states the long-term health consequences of these products, especially in youth, are unknown. There have been patients in their early to mid-20’s who vape falling ill with respiratory issues, some needing intensive care. Smith said there have been at least four in Iowa, nearly 200 potential cases in 22 different states, and one patient died in Illinois.

IDPH now offers a special program for teens who want to quit using tobacco products or e-cigarettes. My Life, My Quit program let’s teens text or call a toll free number (855-891-9989) for real-time coaching. A coach works with each person to build personalized support and a quit plan to be free from nicotine. The My Life, My Quit program is free and confidential and you can enroll at mylifemyquit.com.