Empowering the Freelance Economy

Non-judgmental text messaging campaign helps thousands of teens quit vaping

Marketing, content creators and others in the creative industries looking to motivate teens and young adults through targeted campaigns, should do so in a non-judgmental and supportive way, new research has found. One campaign has managed to attract 500 new users a day, The Freelance Informer reports.

Case Study: This is Quitting

Launched in January 2019 in the US, This is Quitting was created specifically for teens and young adults looking to quit e-cigarettes. The free interactive text message programme has enrolled over 315,000 young people to date, providing them with tailored advice, cognitive and behavioural coping strategies, and social support to help them quit.

This is Quitting is now part of the truth® campaign, which is Truth Initiative’s national youth smoking, vaping and nicotine prevention public education campaign.

How effective has the campaign been?

The 2019 CDC National Health Interview Survey found that 9.3% of young adults aged 18-24 used e-cigarettes, up from 7.6% in 2018, and over half (56%) of the young adult e-cigarette users reported that they had never smoked cigarettes.

The nicotine found in most e-cigarettes can expose young people to negative health effects around brain development – which continues up to age 25 – including an increased risk of nicotine addiction and mood disorders.

However, a new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine has demonstrated the effectiveness of Truth Initiative’s This is Quitting programme– a free and anonymous quit vaping text message programme for young adults.

The randomised clinical trial found that This is Quitting increased quit rates among young adults aged 18-24 by nearly 40% compared to a control group. The results were consistent across all characteristics examined in the randomized trial, including demographics, nicotine dependence, social influences to vape, mental health symptoms, and other substance use.

The double-blind, randomised clinical trial included 2,588 young adult e-cigarette users interested in quitting within 30 days. Participants were assigned to This is Quitting or a control intervention. Both groups received text messages asking about their e-cigarette use/abstinence.

Youth market influencer Jerry Purpdrank has been inviting young people to quit vaping alongside him

A separate Truth Initiative survey found that 60% of the young e-cigarette users surveyed, aged 15-24, want to quit within the year and of those who want to quit, more than half (51.2%) agreed that texting would help them stop vaping, underscoring the urgent need for effective programs like This is Quitting.

Why text messaging and TikTok works

Truth has partnered with TikTok influencers and e-cigarette users (L-R:Jerry Purpdrank ,  Victoria Annunziato (aka King Victober), and Tosha are inviting young people—including their combined 11.3 million followers—to join them and “quit together”. IMAGE CREDIT: TRUTH

These findings show that text messaging is a scalable and cost-efficient approach to promote vaping abstinence among young adult e-cigarette users.

Importantly for the field, the results of the clinical trial establish an effectiveness benchmark and begin to fill an important gap in understanding how to help young people quit e-cigarettes.

As part of the campaign, the Truth campaign has partnered with TikTok influencers and current e-cigarette users Victoria Annunziato (aka King Victober), Tosha and Jerry Purpdrank who are inviting young people—including their combined 11.3 million followers—to join them and “quit together.”

In addition, Christian DelGrosso, a top influencer and non-vaping friend of Jerry’s is lending his support as part of the campaign. He said, “Quitting nicotine is very hard and no one should have to do it alone. For anyone trying to quit, having their friends stand alongside them can be an important part of their success. By supporting Jerry on his journey, I’m also supporting any young person who is taking a step to quit.” 

“This is Quitting is meeting a need for hundreds of thousands of young people through a channel they’re comfortable with and use every day,” said Dr. Amanda Graham, chief of innovations at Truth Initiative and lead author of the study.

“The response to the programme has been staggering since we launched it over two years ago with more than 500 young people enrolling each day. The strong and consistent results from this trial demonstrate that this program is providing the right support and information to help young people quit e-cigarettes.” 

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