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New Texting Service Aims To Help Kentucky Youth Quit Vaping


Kentucky has partnered with a national texting service in order to help young people quit vaping.

The free service, “This Is Quitting,” started nationwide last year and launched a partnership with Kentucky’s Department for Public Health this December. It targets youth between the ages of 13 and 24 and provides up to nine weeks of coaching and supportive texts to quit vaping. Those who are not within the age range will be directed to other services.

DPH Supervisor of Health Promotion Elizabeth Anderson-Hoagland said the service is meant to help young people who aren’t comfortable using some of the more traditional supports meant to help people quit using tobacco.

“It can be difficult if you are a young person where you don't necessarily feel safe or supported talking to the adults in your life about needing to quit using tobacco products,” Anderson-Hoagland said. “They’re much more comfortable using text messages – to use app services.”

To enroll in the texting service, youth must send “KENTUCKY” to the number 88709. Anderson-Hoagland said the texting service will be available as long as people use it. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stated that electronic cigarettes, also known as vapes, are not safe for youth, young adults, or anyone who doesn’t already use tobacco products. They can contain nicotine or cancer-causing chemicals. The CDC’s 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that an increasing number of Kentucky high school youth have vaped, and state experts say more awareness and legislation is needed to limit the number of youth who vape and use tobacco. Federal law passed this December raised the minimum age for buying tobacco products to 21.

The Food and Drug Administration and the CDC are researching potential lung injuries from e-cigarette use. On Friday, the state released news of Kentucky's first probable fatality connected to vaping. There have been 48 reports of a possible lung illness connected to vaping in the state; seven have been confirmed.

Kyeland Jackson is an Associate Producer for WFPL News.