(BPT) - TikTok influencers Victoria Annunziato (aka King Victober), Tosha and Jerry Purpdrank have a lot in common. They have millions of subscribers. They vape. And they want to quit using e-cigarettes and encourage others to do the same, by sharing their personal experiences in real time with their millions of followers.
Victoria, Tosha and Jerry are joining the 60% of young e-cigarette users surveyed who stated they want to quit vaping in 2021. Of course, quitting vaping isn’t easy. Fortunately, the same survey from Truth Initiative shines a light on what can help young people looking to leave vaping behind in 2020.
According to the same survey from Truth Initiative, more than 40% of those seeking to quit said a social media support system and connecting with influencers on their own quitting journeys would help. Even more — 51% — said texting would also help them quit.
That’s why truth®, the national youth smoking, vaping, and nicotine prevention campaign from Truth Initiative, partnered with Victoria, Tosha and Jerry as part of its new campaign, Quit Together. The goal: meet young people where they are on social media to help them reach their quitting goals.
It’s a first-of-its-kind quitting effort. And everyone’s invited.
Victoria, Tosha and Jerry are asking their millions of followers to join them in using This is Quitting, the first-of-its-kind, free and anonymous text message quit vaping program from truth, created specifically for youth and young adults.
Already being used by more than 250,000 young people, This is Quitting offers a proven, judgment-free way for young e-cigarette users to get help if they are looking to quit vaping. Data show that just two weeks into the program, more than 60% of users reported they had reduced or stopped using e-cigarettes. Young vapers can sign up and start finding help by texting DITCHVAPE to 88709.
Quit Together’s influencers began posting their videos to TikTok on Jan. 8, announcing their intentions to quit. Since then, they’ve continued posting updates about their experiences, sharing advice and support from This is Quitting, giving their followers encouragement to quit, and sharing milestones together along the way. They are also speaking directly to the health effects of e-cigarettes, including the impact on anxiety and lung health, and the importance of having support from friends and family while quitting.
Reversing a toxic cultural trend
Vaping used to be seen as cool. But times have changed. As influencer Victoria Annunziato says, “Like many others, I started using e-cigarettes when I was young. I had no idea what nicotine was or how addictive it could be. I want to use my platform and work with truth to start a conversation about my own experience, so others can avoid the traps that got me hooked or quit with me if they are already vaping. I’m hopeful that my journey will inspire others and spread awareness.”
Time is of the essence. Alarming evidence continues to show that vaping harms lung health and can make young people more vulnerable to COVID-19. This includes research from Stanford University that shows teens and young adults who have vaped may be up to five times more likely to test positive for the virus than their non-vaping peers. The numbers are even worse for those who smoke both regular and e-cigarettes.
Fortunately, young people have taken note. Truth initiative survey data show that nearly half of 15- to 24-year-olds responded that the pandemic has prompted them to look for information about quitting (48%) or talk to someone about quitting (45%).
This is what support culture looks like
It’s not just e-cigarette users who are helping one another quit.
Influencer Christian DelGrosso, a non-vaping friend of Jerry Purpdrank, is also lending his support as part of the campaign. He said, “For anyone trying to quit, having their friends stand alongside them can be an important part of their success. By supporting Jerry on his journey, I’m also supporting any young person who is taking a step to quit.”
truth is also producing a limited YouTube series titled “Quitters” that highlights real This is Quitting users on their quit journey. Viewers will be able to follow along and join This is Quitting to help them make vaping a thing of the past in 2021.