Text Message Vaping Intervention May Help Young Adults Quit

Close up of unrecognizable woman surfing the Internet on her smart phone.
The researchers’ goal was to determine the effectiveness of a text message program vs only assessment for vaping cessation among young adults.

A text message-based intervention promotes vaping cessation in young adults, according to study results published in JAMA Internal Medicine. Although e-cigarettes, aka vaping, are the most common type of tobacco use among adults age 18 to 24, there are few, if any vaping cessation programs available. The researchers developed an intervention based on text messages as a possible solution.

The researchers recruited adults aged 18 to 24 years who lived in the US, had used e-cigarettes in the previous 30 days, and were interested in quitting. They also had to have a mobile phone with a text message plan. After an assessment, participants were randomly assigned to either a treatment or control group. The study included 2588 total participants: 1304 in the treatment group and 1284 in the control group.

The treatment program, called “This is Quitting,” was patterned after a young adult smoking cessation program. It is anchored in social conjunctive theory.

At 7 months, 30 day point prevalence abstinence rates under intention to treat analysis were 24.1% among the treatment group and 18.6% among the control group. Abstinence rates among participants who reported vaping within 30 minutes of waking were 22.6% among the treatment group and 16.4% among the control group.

The study had some limitations. The researchers did not conduct a biochemical analysis of abstinence. They considered 30-day abstinence to be a “rigorous” primary endpoint, and they did not include teens younger than 18 years.

“Text messaging is a scalable and cost-efficient approach to delivering vaping cessation treatment on a population basis,” the researchers concluded. “These results establish a benchmark of effectiveness for other vaping cessation programs and begin to fill an important gap in understanding how to help young people quit e-cigarettes.”

Disclosure: All study authors declared affiliations with Truth Initiative, a nonprofit public health foundation that sells enterprise digital tobacco cessation programs. Please see the original reference for a full list of authors’ disclosures. 


Graham AL, Amato MS, Cha S, Jacobs MA, Bottcher MM, Papandonatos GD. Effectiveness of a vaping cessation text message program among young adult e-cigarette users: a randomized clinical trial. JAMA Intern Med. Published online May 17, 2021. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2021.1793

This article originally appeared on Psychiatry Advisor