In 2018, roughly 1 in 5 high school students reported using e-cigarettes — and as more and more young people begin vaping, their parents are becoming more concerned about the health risks. Agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Surgeon General made it clear that vaping is not safe for teenagers.
For this reason, parents are encouraged to seek out resources and have an honest conversation with their children about the dangers of vaping.
E-cigarettes and other vape products are actively marketed as a safer alternative to smoking tobacco cigarettes. Vape products are available in fun flavors, such as bubble gum and mango, and come in colorful packaging. This, along with its sleek, easy-to- conceal design, has led to a dangerous vaping epidemic among young people.
Popular vape products look similar to USB drives used by high school students for school work.
The truth is: Vaping is dangerous — especially for those under 25 since their brains are still developing. Additionally, quitting vaping may be difficult due to the high amounts of addictive nicotine in the devices. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), only 13% of teens know that vape contains nicotine. Manufacturers don’t have to report what is in an e-cigarette, so many believe it is just flavoring.
Dangers of vaping include:
- Brain development issues
- Broken bones
- Heart problems
- Nicotine addiction
- Popcorn lung
- Respiratory illnesses
Parents should have honest and gentle conversations with their children about the
dangers of vaping and provide resources to help them quit. Your child doesn’t have to
be a victim of a vaping injury or illness.
The easiest way to protect your child from a dangerous vaping addiction is to have an
honest conversation before vaping starts. If your child has already started vaping,
education and encouragement may help curb the habit.
Here’s how to get started:
- Know the facts: Discerning the facts from fiction helps establish your authority and knowledge. It is also important that you accurately present the risks associated with vaping.
- Talk to your child: Find conversation openers when you drive past a vape shop or see someone vaping. Start with non-confrontational, open-ended questions like, “what do you think about vaping?”
- Understand why: Most kids start vaping for many of the same reasons as any addictive behavior: boredom, peer pressure, or anxiety. Sometimes there are more deep-seated issues, though, and vaping fills a self-medicating need. Get to the root of the problem with questions like, “how does vaping make you feel?”
- Talk about expectations: Make it clear why you don’t think your child should vape, including the associated health risks.
- Roleplay: Citing a list of health risks may not help your child in a peer pressure situation. Roleplay situations with your child to help them practice saying “no” when someone offers them a vape and work through a difficult confrontation.
- Set the example: If you’re currently vaping or smoking, set the example and quit today. Be honest with your struggles to help your child see the consequences of your actions.
You’re not alone in your concerns for your child’s health. Many resources are available to help you get the conversation started and educate yourself and your child about the dangers of vaping.