Letter to the Editor: Quitting is a journey

To the Editor:

What do smoking, chewing and vaping have in common? Nicotine.

We are seeing youth rates of nicotine use increase with the prevalence of electronic smoking devices (e-cigarettes, JUULs, vapes, etc). In Allamakee County, 22% of 11th graders used an electronic smoking device in the past 30 days (Iowa Youth Survey, 2018); this is an increase from 6% reported in 2016.

The week of November 17-23 is Northeast Iowa’s Tobacco Awareness Week. The 21st marks the nationwide Great American Smokeout. This annual event encourages people to stop using tobacco for the day and to make plans to quit. The Board of Supervisors from Allamakee, Delaware, Fayette, Howard, and Winneshiek Counties have proclaimed Tobacco Awareness Week throughout their counties.

Overcoming nicotine addiction to any tobacco product can be challenging regardless if you are an adolescent or an adult. It’s a journey, that you don’t have to take alone. Free services are available to safely guide you down the path to success. These services pair you with a trained Quit Coach® to help develop an individualized quitting plan and determine how to best help you.

In Iowa, there are two resources for residents. Are you worried about your teen vaping? MY LIFE MY QUIT a new resource staffed with coaches that are specifically trained to work with youth ages 13 to 17 years old. This coaching service is 100% confidential and teens may call or text 855-891-9989. If you are 18 years and older you can take advantage of QUITLINE by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669), or visiting www.quitlineiowa.org to enroll. Registration specialists and Quit Coaches® are available 24 hours a day. If you are uninsured or on Medicare, you may be eligible for free nicotine replacement therapy.

If everyone - from youth to adults - supports those who are trying to quit, we can build a tobacco-free community, nation, and world. Learn how to get involved and support tobacco prevention efforts in your community, by contacting Ashley at Helping Services for Youth & Families, 563-880-5388.

Serving families since 1973, Helping Services for Youth & Families is dedicated to responding to current health and safety needs of youth and families through empowerment, support, and education.

Ashley Havenstrite
Tobacco Prevention
Specialist - Helping Services for Youth & Families


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