Department Medical Director Caitlin Pedati says Iowa is one of nine states that’s been able to collaborate with the quitline provider National Jewish Health to offer this teen-focused tobacco cessation program. The state has eight people who have suffered respiratory illnesses linked to vaping.
Doctor Pedati says getting teens to do something can be an issue — but they believe this will help them. “It can be very tough. We have this website that’s been designed, it’s MyLifeMyQuit.com , and it’s been designed with this particular age group, so 13 and older in mind. And the idea is that we can offer them some real-time coaching that’s a little more tailored to what their needs might be,” Pedati explains.
Doctor Pedati says it addresses the issue they face in the desire to vape. “For example, navigating social situations that might involved tobacco and vaping. Things like finding healthier ways to cope with stress. We also have a toll-free number that teens can either text or call. And that’s: 855-891-9989,” according to Pedati.
Vaping was billed as a safe alternative to cigarettes and then health issues with vaping started to show up. Pedati says they want to help the teens sort out the truth on the issue. “Ideally we want to make sure that teens have access to reliable and accurate information. Which is one of the things we are trying to do in the Health Department by sharing this resource,” Pedati says. She says it doesn’t just have to be teens who can look at the information. Pedati says adults can use it to share and have conversations with teens about the issue. Pedati says the main goal is to get the message out so everyone is informed.
“It’s important that we help our teens understand — our youth understand – – that we really don’t know what the long-term effects of these products are. And so making sure that we are discouraging the use of these products of any kind,” Pedati says. The program gives ongoing support as teens try to quit vaping.
The 2018 Iowa Youth Survey found 22.4% of 11th grade students, 8.3% of eighth grade students and 2.4% of sixth grade students currently use e-cigarettes.