The biggest challenge to Big Tobacco’s business model is that its product kills its most successful customers. The solution is hooking new, young users on their deadly products. These strategies have been well-documented in internal tobacco industry documents where children are referred to as “replacement smokers.”
Cigarettes are less in vogue for young people, yet, Big Tobacco continues its business strategy to addict them in hopes of gaining a lifelong customer. Big Tobacco continues to peddle addiction with an array of products like vapes, lozenges and snus, all in fruit and candy flavors and packaged with bright, fun colors.
As a result, vaping is erasing two decades of success in reducing teen smoking. It is endangering the health of our children and the future workforce.
Building on its success with the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline, the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust launched a new service to help teens. My Life, My Quit is a free texting/chat program for teens 13-17 who want to quit tobacco in any form – cigarettes, e-cigarettes, vape pods or smokeless tobacco.
In Oklahoma, one in six high school students use e-cigarettes. One in four high school students nationally reported using tobacco in past month. The rise of e-cigarettes and vape use among youth has been declared an epidemic by the U.S. surgeon general.
My Life, My Quit is an evidence-based cessation program that offers live text support, webchat and phone coaching specifically for teens. The program is operated by National Jewish Health, a leading respiratory hospital and the largest nonprofit tobacco quitline provider in the United States.
My Life, My Quit combines best practices for youth tobacco cessation adapted to include vaping and new ways to reach a coach using live text messaging or online chat. The program also includes educational materials created with input from both youth and subject matter experts. My Life, My Quit gives youth who want to quit access to resources that can help them live longer, healthier lives.
TSET’s goals include lowering Oklahoma’s rising numbers in teen tobacco usage. Research shows that the teen quit experience is very different from the adult experience. My Life, My Quit will meet Oklahoma teens on their level and communicate with them via channels in which they are comfortable. Nicotine replacement therapy is not provided to youth.
TSET is pleased to introduce this specialized quit service to help our kids live longer, healthier lives. To learn more, visit My Life, My Quit at www.mylifemyquit.com.
Julie Bisbee is executive director of the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust, a voter-created grant-making trust devoted to preventing cancer and cardiovascular disease, Oklahoma’s leading causes of death.