State offers free text message program to help St. Lawrence County kids quit e-cigarettes
Thursday, March 26, 2020 - 6:03 am

New York State is now offering a free text message program to help kids in St. Lawrence County and the rest of the state quit e-cigarettes as the state moves to reverse the rise in youth vaping.

The State Department of Health partnered with Truth Initiative, a nonprofit national public health organization committed to making tobacco use a thing of the past, to create a NYS-specific version of their text-based intervention, "This is Quitting." To access this program, users simply need to text "DropTheVape" to 88709.

This free text message program was created with input from teenagers, college students and young adults who have attempted to, or successfully, quit vaping. It is tailored to specific age groups (13-17 and 18-24) to give appropriate quitting recommendations.

Upon enrolling in the text message program, users receive interactive daily text messages tailored to their sign-up date or their target quit date, should the user choose to set one. Messages include encouragement, motivation, skill and self-efficacy building exercises and coping strategies. Messages are available for at least one month if a user does not have a quit date set. If a user sets a quit date, they receive messages for at least one week prior to the quit date and at least two months following the quit date, which they may change at any time.

The program also directs users to the New York State Quitline, which recently added free quit-coaching and nicotine replacement therapy for eligible users of e-cigarettes to address the growing need to help them break their dependence on vaping.

According to Department of Health data, nearly 40 percent of 12th grade students and 27 percent of all high school students in New York State are now using e-cigarettes, and this increase is largely driven by flavored e-liquids. High school use in 2018 (27.4%) is 160 percent higher than it was in 2014 (10.5%). While New York's high school student cigarette smoking rate dropped from 27.1% in 2000 to a record low of 4.3% in 2016, aggressive marketing strategies promoting flavored e-cigarettes is primed to reverse that trend.