Quit Genius Pilot Study Demonstrates Feasibility Of Evidence-Based Vaping Cessation Intervention Using Digital Platforms

Press Release

NEW YORK – April 25, 2023 – Quit Genius, the world’s first digital clinic for substance use management, today announced results from a pilot study of a vaping cessation intervention. The novel approach combines digital cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) with human-delivered coaching and nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) to significantly improve outcomes for e-cigarette dependence and use.

“With research showing that more than a third of smokers turn to online solutions for smoking cessation support each year, digital approaches to vaping cessation offer a promising solution,” said Yusuf Sherwani, M.D., co-founder and CEO of Quit Genius. “And with more than 75% of e-cigarette users reporting they vape at work, virtual programs addressing vaping should be especially appealing for employers looking to lower healthcare costs and increase productivity.”

While tobacco use has decreased in the U.S. over the past several decades, the use of new tobacco products such as e-cigarettes has steadily increased, particularly among young adults. Vaping and its associated health risks are a growing public health concern, with sales predicted to more than double in 2023. Despite e-cigarette use costing U.S. employers $1.3 billion annually and more than 60% of Americans wanting to quit e-cigarette products for good, only a third of U.S. workplaces have cessation programs in place.

The pilot study, published in Telemedicine Reports, builds on the current lack of research on nicotine vaping cessation approaches. Research to date has focused largely on automated behavioral support with limited use of evidence-based intervention strategies. The authors established that delivering combination treatments that integrate pharmacotherapy with evidence-based behavioral therapy via telemedicine is a feasible and effective approach to addressing e-cigarette use.

“With almost 50% of participants reporting at least seven days abstinent from vaping, the study’s results are promising and nearly match our existing book-of-business tobacco cessation rates,” said Suzette Glasner, Ph.D., Vice President of Clinical Affairs at Quit Genius. “Vaping poses serious lung and neurological health threats, particularly among adolescents. Given the limited empirically validated treatment options targeting vaping, coupled with the urgent need for innovation in this area, extending this technology-based approach to teens would be both timely and potentially impactful.”

Vaping company Juul recently agreed to pay $462 million to settle claims by six states and Washington D.C. that it marketed its highly addictive e-cigarettes to teens under 18. The FDA and CDC report that more than 3 million middle and high school students used tobacco products last year; e-cigarettes were the most commonly used tobacco product.

The Quit Genius Tobacco Program takes an evidence-based approach that combines technology, medication, and qualified professionals to address the high cost of tobacco use in the workplace, including health complications and loss of productivity. In the largest randomized-controlled trial ever undertaken for a digital tobacco cessation program, Quit Genius demonstrated a 52% biochemically verified quit rate, between 2 and 4 times higher than those typically observed with usual care.

About the Pilot Study

Adults (N=51) who were vaping nicotine were recruited online and enrolled in a 6-week mHealth intervention combining NRT, self-guided CBT, and coaching support via telephone and asynchronous messaging. Feasibility and self-reported 7-day and 30-day abstinence were assessed at baseline and 1-month post-quit date. The majority of participants completed treatment (88.2%) and found the intervention helpful in supporting their vaping behavior change objectives. At 1-month post-quit date, 48.9% of study completers reported 7-day point prevalence abstinence and 28.8% reported continuous 30-day abstinence.

About Pelago

Pelago, formerly Quit Genius, partners with enterprises as the leading virtual clinic for substance use management among their employees. We are transforming substance use support—from prevention to treatment—delivering education, management skills, and opportunities for positive change to members struggling with substance use, most commonly tobacco, alcohol, or opioids. Our solution gives employers the means to offer on-demand, personalized support to workers seeking to live healthier lives. Pelago’s cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and medication-assisted treatment (MAT) programs deliver convenient, accessible, and effective support that seamlessly integrates with health plans, pharmacy benefit managers, and wellness platforms. To date, Pelago has helped more than 750,000 members manage their substance use and improve their lives.

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