At a time when vaping has become synonymous with trendy designs and a multitude of flavours, the harsh reality often goes unnoticed. Deep within the vapours, a cocktail of more than 200 dangerous chemicals lurks, threatening the respiratory health of those who choose to indulge. From arsenic, a chemical found in rat poison, to acrolein found in weedkiller, and xylene commonly used in paint strippers – these are just a few of the hazardous substances ingested by users every time they take a puff.
Nicotine, the highly addictive component that triggers the release of pleasure-inducing chemicals in the brain, adds another layer of concern. Shockingly, individuals who venture into the world of vaping are three times more likely to transition to smoking traditional cigarettes.
The primary demographic for vaping is young adults aged 18–24, captivated by the allure of chic designs and an overwhelming array of flavours. However, the consequences of this seemingly harmless trend are surfacing as a public health crisis. Evidence suggests that unintentional nicotine dependence is gripping young adults, and many are desperately seeking a way out.
Existing smoking cessation programs have so far proven insufficient, emphasizing the pressing need for targeted vaping cessation support. Yet, the complexities surrounding vaping cessation remain inadequately understood.
To address this gap in knowledge, Griffith University research is co-designing a vaping cessation program tailored to the unique needs of young adults seeking to quit. A national online survey targeting current and former vapers has been meticulously designed to explore their vaping patterns, device preferences, flavour choices, concurrent smoking habits, quit intentions, and attempts. The goal is to understand their experiences and to identify effective strategies.
The survey results reveal a disturbing trend – the majority of current vapers indulge in the habit daily, with one in five also supplementing it with traditional cigarette smoking. Two-thirds of participants attempted to quit within the past 12 months, with “going cold turkey” emerging as the most common strategy.
To further enhance the vaping cessation program, a series of co-design workshops to engage vapers and former vapers in a collaborative process. Their insights will help generate innovative ideas for the design of an effective cessation model. Insights garnered from both the survey and co-design workshops will contribute to the development of a comprehensive vaping cessation model.
In the face of an escalating vaping epidemic, understanding the nuances of young adult vaping patterns and cessation intentions is crucial. By co-designing a targeted cessation program, we aim to empower individuals, particularly young adults, to liberate themselves from the shackles of inhaling these perilous and addictive chemicals. Our collective efforts are not only in the pursuit of knowledge but also in crafting a healthier and safer future for the generations to come.
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