The My Life, My Quit™ program is a free and confidential service developed by National Jewish Health, the nation's number one respiratory hospital, for young people who want help quitting all forms of tobacco including vaping. Our Tobacco Cessation Coaches have completed extensive training on adolescent cognitive and psychosocial development from a psychologist and professor at Stanford University who specializes in adolescent tobacco prevention.
By enrolling, teen participants receive:
- • Five, one-on-one coaching sessions usually scheduled every 7-10 days. Coaching helps teens develop a quit plan, identify triggers, practice refusal skills and receive ongoing support for changing behaviors.
- • Coaches available by phone, by text message or by online chat.
- • Self-help and educational materials designed for teens, with input from teens.
National Jewish Health operates tobacco quitlines in numerous states around the country and has helped more than one million people with their quit attempts.
As a parent, you may feel shocked, hurt or angry when you discover your teen is using a tobacco product like cigarettes or a nicotine vaping device. You may not even know what a vaping device is when you first see it; tobacco companies have made them so small and easy to hide! Your first instinct may be to confront your child and discipline them for using tobacco. But, this may make them even more secretive about their nicotine use and unwilling to discuss the issue.
It's not easy, but having a positive and constructive conversation is the best approach. Here are some tips:
- • Learn about tobacco and vaping products. Turn to reputable sources for information, such as the U.S. Surgeon General or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Ask a health care professional or your teen's school for more information.
- • Listen to your teen. Ask questions about what they know about tobacco and how they learned this information, how they are exposed to tobacco, and whether they feel pressure to use tobacco. It could take several brief conversations to build up trust with your teen. By listening, you are letting your teen know you care about their health and future.
- • Encourage your teen to use available resources to quit using tobacco. The My Life, My Quit™ program provides free and confidential coaching services to help your teen build their quit plan and receive additional support while quitting.
For more information, review the information provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Surgeon General about how to talk with your teen about e-cigarettes. Additional resources are available in the Stanford Tobacco Prevention Toolkit for parents and guardians.
Your teen needs your support to quit nicotine and tobacco. If your teen is thinking about quitting tobacco, here is some information to keep in mind:
- • Nicotine addiction can happen very quickly; especially for young people.
- • All tobacco products, including vaping devices and e-cigarettes, that contain nicotine are addictive!
- • The longer a teen uses nicotine, the more addicted they are likely to become, and the harder it will be to stop.
- • Medications used for quitting tobacco have not been proven effective for teens. If you or your teen want more information about quit medications such as nicotine replacement, speak with your child's doctor to help decide whether these medications might work in their individual situation.
- • If you use tobacco products, set an example by quitting. Call 1-800-QUIT NOW (784-8669)1-800-QUIT NOW (784-8669) to speak with a quit coach about setting a quit date, finding alternatives, and using medication to improve your chances of success.
When changing any behavior, it can take several attempts to establish a new routine. Slipping back into old behavior is a natural part of the process. If this happens, don't get discouraged! Help your teen understand which behaviors or situations led back to tobacco use and come up with a plan for how to avoid tobacco triggers in the future. Continue to provide support and help your teen by encouraging them to restart their quit attempt.
You can't force your teen to change but you can support their plan. Ask what your teen needs and how you can help. This shows you care, you are listening, and you want them to succeed.
Download Helping Others Infographic
When smoking cigarettes was the most common form of tobacco use among teens, the smell of smoke was much easier to notice. Today, teens are vaping and using e-cigarettes that do not have the familiar tobacco smell and may not have any odor at all. If you think your teen may be vaping, there are some signs to look for:
It is very important to keep open lines of communication with your teen, so you understand what is happening in their life. If you suspect nicotine withdrawal is leading to unexplained emotional outbursts, wait until your teen is calm and gently ask about their situation. Start by explaining you want to understand their experience better, and express your concern about the behavior you observed. Keep the conversation focused on the behavior and not the person, and ask questions about the cause of the behavior. Avoid telling them what you think is the problem. Let your child know you have been reading about symptoms of nicotine withdrawal and ask if this might be underlying the behavior.
While the decision to quit tobacco is one your teen must make themselves, there are ways you can encourage your teen to enroll in My Life, My Quit™:
- • Let your teen know you are concerned about the impact of tobacco use, including vaping, on their current and long-term health.
- • Many teens believe vaping is not tobacco. Let your teen know most vaping products contain nicotine and have the same addictive properties whether they are smoking cigarettes, vaping nicotine or using other types of e-cigarettes.
- • Ask if they want help and let them know you have a resource that is free and confidential.
- • Tell them you want to support their quit plan and ask if they will sign up for the My Life, My Quit™ program. Be sure to mention it is free and confidential. If they are not willing to enroll right then, provide them with information about how to enroll and let them know they have support to help them quit.
- • If your teen is ready to get started, they can text, call or enroll online. It's fast and simple.
- • Your teen may want help taking the first step of calling or sending the text. But remember, your teen needs to do the work in order to be successful.
We respect the confidentiality of teens and we follow applicable laws that restrict sharing health information. This means we cannot share information about your teen's participation in coaching, or any other component of the program, without their permission. We encourage you to maintain communication directly with your teen as they participate in the program by providing support and encouragement. Remember some teens are not ready to share their experiences with their parent/guardians as they happen. Pressuring them to share before they are ready may cause your child to be more reluctant to discuss the issue in the future.