Teen Vaping & Tobacco Use: Providing Virtual Support

As Americans continue to focus on health and safety in light of COVID-19, adolescent health needs a spotlight. While the virus does not seem to be impacting the world’s teens nearly as much, the concurrent vaping epidemic could be putting many at higher risk.

“People with underlying health issues, such as heart or lung problems, may have increased risk for serious complications from COVID-19,” said Michael Felberbaum, an FDA spokesman. “This includes people who smoke and/or vape tobacco or nicotine-containing products.”

Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, added that the coronavirus “could be an especially serious threat to those who smoke tobacco or marijuana or who vape.”

The current stay-at-home measures bring new challenges to supporting anti-vaping efforts. While teens may be under more consistent parental observance, and less peer influence, they are also not receiving the same exposure to healthcare professionals they might normally see through routine care in offices or school-based health centers. Luckily, there are technology resources available to be there when you can’t.

Adolescent Counseling Technology for Nicotine & Tobacco (ACT-NT) is an interactive, evidence-based assessment and counseling system designed for the unique needs of youth using nicotine products – including vaping, cigarettes, and smokeless tobacco. The secure, web-based ACT-NT program is designed to be delivered in person or virtually by both clinical and non-clinical settings (e.g., in schools, physician offices, or youth-serving organizations) and includes three critical components delivered by technology:

  1. Thorough Assessment of Risks & Behaviors to identify youth who are vaping, what triggers their nicotine usage (peer influence, stress, addiction) and what might motivate them to make a change.
  2. Evidence-based, Tailored Risk Coaching & Action Plan to support reduction and cessation.
  3. Continued Engagement via text to help youth stay on track beyond a one-time intervention.

Our newly launched whitepaper, provides review of nicotine and tobacco use among American adolescents, the evidence for change—AND how we can make a difference. Included ACT-NT data shows that among youth reporting vaping and that used ACT-NT there was a:

  • 34% decrease in the use of nicotine products after 1 month
  • 44% reduction after 3 months AND
  • 50% of youth took steps to reduce or quit using

You may not be seeing youth now like you were before, so let our ACT-NT virtual health educator be there to support your teen patients. Schedule a call today to learn more.