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Talk to Your Kids: E-Cigarettes are Not Safe

According to the 2019 National Youth Tobacco Survey, there are over 5 million youth who are currently using e-cigarettes. From 2018 to 2019, e-cigarette use increased from 20.8% to 27.5% among high school students and 4.9% to 10.5% among middle school students. Poweshiek County Public Health reminds residents that JUULs, vapes of different juices like twist salt arctic cool mint, e-cigarettes, electronic smoking devices, whatever they might be called – are not harmless.

According to the CDC, 99% of e-cigarettes contain nicotine and many youth are unaware of this – they think vaping is a safe alternative to “regular” cigarettes. Vaping is not safe. Nicotine is highly addictive and young people can become addicted to e-cigarettes as easily as traditional cigarettes. Nicotine has been shown to harm adolescent brain development, which continues until the age of 25. 

“Parents need to talk to their kids about e-cigarettes and make it clear they are not safe,” says Shauna Callaway, director of UnityPoint Health® – Grinnell Public Health. “The ‘fun’ flavors and availability of e-cigarettes leaves the impression they are safe for kids. They are not.”

Poweshiek County teens can take advantage of the My Life My Quit program that is dedicated to helping teens quit vaping and tobacco use. Teens can text “Start My Quit” to (855) 891-9989, or they can visit for real-time coaching. Through the program, teens work with a youth coach who listens and understands their unique needs, provides personalized support, and helps them build a quit plan to become free from nicotine addiction. 

My Life My Quit provides youth access to tailored resources for quitting, including:

  • Free and confidential help from a quit coach specially trained to listen to teens, help teens navigate social situations that involve tobacco or vaping, and find healthy ways to cope with stress
  • ·       Five coaching sessions via live text messaging or by phone on a dedicated toll-free number, (855) 891-9989, or online chat 
  • Simplified online and mobile program registration to get teens to a coach quicker
  • Dedicated teen website at with online enrollment, live chat with a coach, information about vaping and tobacco, and activities to support quitting and stress relief
  • On-going text messages for encouragement throughout the quit process
  • Certificate of program completion

Poweshiek County youth can help educate their peers about the dangers of tobacco and e-cigarettes by joining their local chapter of Iowa Students for Tobacco Education and Prevention (ISTEP) or creating a chapter of their own. Learn more about ISTEP at

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