According to the 2022 National Youth Tobacco Survey, more than three million middle and high school students use at least one tobacco product and more than 2.5 million use e-cigarettes. To further health equity among the adolescent population, especially for those at highest risk, and to help healthcare providers, community-based youth leaders and school officials identify teens who use tobacco and help them quit, the American Lung Association and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) launched Ask, Counsel, Treat (ACT) to Address Youth Cessation.
“Nicotine in e-cigarettes, cigarettes and other tobacco products is extremely addictive, so it critical that youth who are trying to quit have support from their family and proven resources from healthcare providers. This is why we worked closely with the American Academy of Pediatrics to develop a program to best address the topic of quitting tobacco with teens,” said Harold Wimmer, National President and CEO of the American Lung Association. “This is an urgent issue as we continue to see millions of teens vaping, and tobacco use is still the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the country. We must intervene now as we don’t want to lose another generation to tobacco use.”
ACT for Youth Cessation is a one-hour online course based on the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Youth Tobacco Cessation: Considerations for Clinicians that aims to teach healthcare professionals, school personnel and community members on how to conduct a brief intervention for teens who use tobacco. The course outlines the steps of Ask, Counsel, Treat, and provides guidance, support and best practices for having an effective conversation with adolescents ages 11 and older who use tobacco products, including e-cigarettes.
“We know that most adult tobacco users first started smoking or using nicotine products during their teens, a time when the developing brain is especially vulnerable to addiction,” said AAP President Sandy Chung, MD, FAAP. “Children are frequently exposed to imagery of tobacco use in movies and media, as well as advertisements that target them because of their youth. AAP and the American Lung Association advocate for structural changes to end these practices, which often prey upon vulnerable and marginalized groups. But we understand that it is also critical to empower teens early to make good decisions about their health. This course gives our community leaders a tool to help get those conversations started.”
The ACT to Address Youth Cessation brief intervention training is now available for free for healthcare providers, public health professionals, school personnel and community members who work with youth at Lung.Training.