The Maui News

The Hawaii Department of Health is launching two new campaigns with innovative messaging to reach, educate, and help adults and youth who are at-risk for tobacco addiction.

The first initiative is the Escape The Vape “Weaker Inside” Campaign, which educates youth about how the chemicals in vapor can damage airways, making it harder for lungs to clear out pollution, allergens, and germs that they breathe in, a news release said.

It also informs teens that the damage caused by the vapor they inhale can lead to diseases like bronchitis, pneumonia, and more. Many Hawaii youth may not know that vaping damage can start immediately, affecting the lungs and leading to shortness of breath, and coughing, and can make asthma worse.

In 2021, almost 15 percent of teens used e-cigarettes, with that number jumping to 20 percent for high school seniors.

The campaign delivers prevention messaging educating youth through online and traditional media channels, including somewhere they’re being exposed to pro-vape imagery and messaging.

“Being active and outdoors is important to our keiki, and we know that breathing can be impacted by vaping, especially when it comes to participating in their favorite sports,” said Lola Irvin, DOH Administrator of the Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. “Through the ‘Weaker Inside’ campaign, we’re able to highlight the dangers of vaping in a way that resonates with teens and shows them how vaping can impact their ability to perform in their favorite activities.”

The other initiative is the Hawaii Tobacco Quitline “Your Quit Smoking Sponsor” Campaign. It highlights how hard people have worked to overcome the many obstacles in their lives, including substance use and addiction, and how quitting tobacco can actually decrease the risk of relapse, a news release said. The campaign also points out that quitting tobacco decreases the symptoms of anxiety and depression over time.

Many kama’aina are already taking steps to live a healthier life, but oftentimes quitting nicotine is the last step people take. “Your Quit Smoking Sponsor” shows adult smokers how the Hawaii Tobacco Quitline can help them on their path to an addiction-free future, the news release said.

“Through our research and conversations with tobacco users, they’ve told us that cigarettes are often a crutch they rely on for everything from stress relief to avoiding other addictive substances,” Irvin said. “We want smokers to know that the friendly, supportive coaches at the Hawai’i Tobacco Quitline understand quitting is hard. The quitline is a free resource to help guide and support them throughout their quit journey.”

The Hawaii Tobacco Quitline provides free, confidential, and customized support for those ready to take the first step toward quitting tobacco and nicotine addiction. To speak with a trained coach and receive free patches, gum, or lozenges, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or visit

For more information on Escape The Vape Hawaii, visit

For teens who would like to quit smoking or vaping, the Hawaii Tobacco Quitline continues to offer “My Life, My Quit,” a free program with trained coaches to help youth up to 17 years old quit smoking or vaping. Teens can sign up by texting “Start My Quit” to 36072. Teens, parents, guardians, and health care providers can also visit for more information.

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