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How Coaches Approach Quitting E-cigarettes Differently

How Coaches Approach Quitting E-cigarettes Differently

For many of those I coach, quitting tobacco means quitting cigarettes. But to quote Bob Dylan, “times are a-changin’.” Stop-smoking coaches such as myself know there is a growing population that now needs help quitting e-cigarettes, too.

Examples of changing times

Remember when cigarette lighters were a standard feature in vehicles?

I remember burning myself as a child because I just had to touch it! Fast forward to today: my own children will never know a time where a cigarette lighter is in our car. To them, it’s where mom plugs in her cell phone charger.

Or remember when smoking was allowed in airplanes? How about having to choose between the smoking or non-smoking section of restaurants? Many states have even banned smoking in bars. Times are definitely a-changin’.

Yet with all these changes in the right direction, my work as an EX Coach is busier than ever with a new obstacle to help people overcome: vaping.

Smoke shops I drive by are now called vape shops. E-cigarette use has dramatically increased in our youth population, with more than 20% of high schoolers now using e-cigarettes—a 78% increase since 2017. Plus, nearly 11 million adults currently vape.

Many smokers who used vaping to quit cigarettes are now left with something new to beat—their e-cigarette.

Differences in coaching for quitting e-cigarettes

The EX Program recently launched tailored support to help people who want to quit e-cigarettes.

You may have seen articles about our dynamic text message program to help those of all ages quit vaping in SELF or CNN or saw the clip on the Today show.

In addition to text messaging, participants in the EX Program can also access support by live chatting with an EX Coach. It’s important to note how we provide support to e-cigarette users is different than how we chat with smokers.  Here are a few ways we approach e-cigarette users differently:

    • Credibility is key, and coaches must use the right language to be respected as someone who can relate and wants to help. This is as basic as calling someone by the right name.

When people log on to chat with an EX Coach and tell us they vape, we don’t ask how many cigarettes they smoke per day or what their smoking triggers are, as this will be as welcome as calling someone named Christine “Christina.” People want to be heard and understood.

    • When chatting with someone quitting e-cigarettes, we never assume to know their story. We ask for it. Did they start vaping to quit cigarettes or start vaping for another reason? This information makes a difference in how we approach discussing their quitting plan.

Also, the triggers for smoking vs. vaping can be different—even for someone who switched from smoking to vaping. E-cigarette users may have a completely new set of triggers or a mixture of old and new. We won’t know and be able to provide guidance until we ask.

    • For some who quit smoking with an e-cigarette, they may feel vaping was the reason they stopped smoking. And while they are interested in quitting vaping, the negative connotation they had with smoking may not apply to the e-cigarette.

We often pick up on some doubt that there’s anything wrong with using an e-cigarette, which is a definite contrast to the people we chat with trying to quit smoking. Everyone knows smoking is bad for you. It’s not as black and white yet for vaping.

Educating people on what we know and don’t yet know about e-cigarettes is another way we approach coaching people who are quitting vaping.

So, yes, times are a-changin’ and the EX Coaches are ready to help people wherever they are at in their quitting journeys. Have more questions for us about how we help people quit vaping? Click the Chat with an EX Coach at the bottom right of your screen to get started.


Margaret LaPlante
Margaret LaPlante

EX Coach Lead

Margaret collaborates with the live chat team to ensure protocols are always current and research based. She trains the EX Coaches to get participants the help and medication support they need for a successful quit. Margaret has been delivering tobacco cessation coaching since 2004, helping others get the personalized help they need.

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