The leading myth of e-cigarettes is that they are safer than cigarettes. However, e-cigarettes present health risks including nicotine addiction, seizures, respiratory issues, and more. Due in part to a large social media presence, the temptation to vape is strong. Talking with your child about the dangers of vaping may help them see past the hype.
Should I Talk to My Child About Vaping?
Yes. Vaping is a dangerous activity with potentially long-term consequences for your child’s health.
Vaping is growing in popularity among high schoolers, and reports are showing it is even making it into the middle school grades.
In 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported the number of e-cigarette users in the past month to be:
More than 3.6 million U.S. youth
1 in 5 high school students
1 in 20 middle school students
Having an honest conversation with your child about vaping is just as important as warning them about the dangers of texting and driving. This is especially true if your child is already showing warning signs of vaping.
Responses to Common Questions About Vaping
You’re not the only one talking to your child about vaping — there are dozens of influences guiding your child’s decision to vape. Your silence only makes these voices louder.
Your genuine concern about the harmful effects of vaping gives some weight to the conversation, but you may need hard-hitting facts to get through to your child.
Anticipating your child’s responses and meeting them with firm evidence about the dangers of vaping will go a long way toward helping your child give up or avoid vaping.
Aren’t Vapes Safer than Cigarettes?
With about 7,000 chemicals in cigarette smoke — 69 of which are known to cause cancer — just about anything is safer than cigarettes.
However, vaping still exposes the lungs to toxic chemicals, ultrafine particles, heavy metals, and nicotine. The presence of nicotine is especially concerning because it may lead to addiction, seizures, stroke, and impaired brain development in children.
What Can I Say When Other Kids Ask Me to Try Their Vape?
Saying “no” is tough in the face of peer pressure. Practice makes it easier. Start with practicing saying a couple of lines:
No, I don’t want to do that.
You can if you want to. That’s not for me.
Just saying them out loud gives them power.
You and your child can also try roleplaying. Play the part of a friend urging your child to vape, and give them the chance to refuse in a safe environment.
Swap parts and let your child urge you to vape to let them see how you handle it.
Isn’t Vaping Legal?
Vaping is legal for anyone over the age of 18. Some states have even raised that age to 21. With that said, one major problem with vaping is that it appeals to children under the legal age limit.
If your child is under 18 (or 21 if applicable), tell them that vaping is not legal — and that underaged kids who vape may get in trouble with the law.
Your child should also know that even if their friends can legally buy vape products, it is against the law for adults to give vape products to minors.
Explain to your child that legal age limits have been set with good reason. According to the U.S. Surgeon General, those under the age of 25 who vape are at a higher risk of nicotine addiction, as their brains are not fully developed.
This makes it easier for them to become addicted and puts them at risk of nicotine poisoning, seizures, and strokes.
Everyone Is Doing it, So Why Can’t I?
It might seem like “everyone” is doing it, but that’s not the truth.
Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that about 20.8% of high schoolers used e-cigarettes in 2018. This is far from a majority.
It can be challenging for a young adult to resist peer pressure, but point out to your child that the long-term risks of vaping aren’t worth pleasing people they may never see again after graduation.
How Can I Quit Vaping?
It’s important to go into quitting with a plan. Ask yourself some important questions, and write down the answers so you’ll have them handy when you’re tempted to vape.
These questions include:
How does vaping impact my school work and grades?
What influence does vaping have on my thinking and feelings?
How much money is vaping costing me?
What’s happening to my relationships with friends, boyfriend or girlfriend, family, and others because of vaping?
Here are some ways your child can prepare for quitting:
Determine why you want to quit
Set a definitive quit date
Reach out for help and support
Avoid situations where you may be tempted to vape
Know how to combat cravings and withdrawal
Refrain from using any type of tobacco
Help Protect Your Child Against the Dangers of Vaping
Confrontation is tough, but it is a parent’s responsibility to have difficult conversations with their children. This is especially the case with vaping, which can lead to potentially life-changing health risks if left unaddressed.
Courtesy of VapeDanger