Researchers at Yale kickstart program with some incentives for teens to quit vaping

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(WTNH) — We’ve been reporting on the epidemic of teenagers addicted to vaping. There have been very few actual programs aimed at intervening after a teen is hooked. Researchers at Yale have started a program with some nice incentives to quit.

The program leaders realize that addiction is very hard to overcome and know that it will require a certain amount of hand-holding and counseling.

They’re being funded by the American Heart Association, starting with help for teens and hoping to expand to older and younger ages. Researchers at Yale School of Medicine just started an e-cigarette intervention program virtual counseling and encouragement for high school teens who want and need help quitting.

Suchitra Krishnan-Sarin, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry at the Yale University School of Medicine added, “They don’t like the concept of being addicted but they know they are addicted and they want to quit and they don’t know how.”

She also sees student athletes realizing they need to quit. They say things like, “I’m coughing more or I can’t run as much as fast as I could before.”

They enroll high school aged teens, really taking them one on one through the e-cigarette quitting process over a six week period.

Yale counselors start with breaking misconceptions on vaping dangers.

“When you walk into schools today, people feel like it’s just breathing in water vapor which is reallly not true. Ecigarettes do contain many chemicals and we need to be concerned about those chemicals.”

Part of her team’s work is surveying teenagers asking things like Why do they use this product? Why do they like it? What would they like an intervention to contain? How would they like it provided?

First they teach teens how to set up a “quit date,” then counseling on real life situations.

Questions like: How do you deal with withdrawal symptoms? How do you deal with your friend providing you with an ecigarette and asking you if you want to vape? How do you buld resistance skills?

They find using incentives with the teens works. If they are sucessful in quitting vaping they can earn $200 in Amazon gift cards. They do have to pass a chemical screening and go through the counseling.

The team at Yale does not know what they’ll be facing after with teens and vaping when they all return to school.

Did the isolation make it worse, or did staying home lead to a lack of access and less peer pressure? That’s something else they will study in the coming months.

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