It may be tougher to quit vaping than many young people expect when they first pick up an e-cigarette.
Nearly half of young vapers – 45 percent – are “seriously interested in quitting,” according to Tracy Smith, an assistant professor at the Medical University of South Carolina who led a study on vaping. A quarter of young vapers also tried to quit in the past year.
Smith’s findings were summarized in an article in the journal JAMA Pediatrics this week. She said she believes this was the first time researchers have studied 12- to 17-year-olds’ efforts to quit vaping, and the results were surprising.
“Many adolescents who vape think it’s not very harmful,” Smith said in a written statement. “We expected to find very few who would be interested in quitting.”
E-cigs are unsafe for children, teens and young adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nicotine can affect brain development and vaping products have been found to contain other harmful substances.
As of last year, more than 5 million youths were using e-cigs, according to the Food and Drug Administration. The findings of Smith’s study mean that there are millions of young people interested in quitting vaping.
With so many young people wanting to quit, Smith said there need to be more resources to help them.
“It’s hard to stop vaping for the same reason it’s hard to stop using all tobacco products – because nicotine is addictive,” she said.
However, it may be even harder to quit vaping than it is to quit smoking, according to Smith. That’s because smokers tend to use one cigarette at a time in specific situations. But vaping is different.
“A lot of people who vape are using it everywhere and all the time, because it’s easier to do indoors and you don’t have to light a vape,” Smith said. “It’s always available to you.”