Teen vaping has been called an “epidemic” in some circles. Is it fair to call the use of electronic cigarettes (also known as vaping) an epidemic among young people? As we delve into discussing vaping with teens, we’ll explore what parents can do if this is the case.
Keep in mind the following information about vaping:
- Regarding tobacco products, vapes are by far the most popular among young people. There is a startling increase in the use of electronic cigarettes among young people, with estimates ranging from 10 to 25 percent among high school students.
- Teens are misled into thinking vaping is safe when it is not. More than 30 toxic chemicals and potentially harmful heavy metals are found in most vapes, in addition to the highly addictive nicotine. Flavorings added to vape pods by manufacturers to increase their appeal have been linked to a variety of respiratory illnesses.
- The parts of the adolescent brain responsible for focus, memory, emotion regulation, and inhibition are particularly vulnerable to the negative effects of nicotine addiction.
- Despite the common misconception, vapes do not release water vapor when used. Their output is a fine aerosol mist that contains inhaled particles. Particles like these can cause damage to the lungs, making them more susceptible to respiratory illnesses like the coronavirus.
- One common disguise for vapes is a USB flash drive, making them stealthy and convenient for travel.
All Texas parents should be aware that it is against the law for minors to smoke or use electronic cigarettes. All minors under the age of 21, except those serving in the armed forces who can buy tobacco products, are prohibited from possessing tobacco products and electronic cigarettes.
When To Worry If Your Teen Uses Electronic Cigarettes
Your teen probably knows someone who vapes or has tried it themselves by the time they’re in high school. Parents who discover their teens are using electronic cigarettes must act immediately. Prepare yourself for how to respond now rather than panicking later.
- Keep your cool first. Avoid arguing with your teen if you are feeling emotional. For the sake of the conversation’s seriousness, you two should put away your phones.
- Introduce yourself and show interest in the other person by asking questions and then carefully considering their responses. Professionals recommend that you start with broad questions: “I’m curious as to your reasoning for trying vaping. Feelings after vaping; how does it affect you? Exactly what do the vapes contain? How often do you vape? What potential risks do you see?” Avoid cutting them off or lecturing them while they are talking.
- Tell them you care about their well-being above all else and that you won’t stand for them engaging in something as risky and illegal as vaping. Explain the negative effects of vaping on adolescent brains and lungs and how you’re taking action to prevent harm to their health. You can also let them know that if they are caught vaping at school, they will face a fine of up to $100 and disciplinary action.
- Get rid of their used vapes and cartridges.
- Give yourself enough time to think through the proper punishments. Forbidding a child from playing a video game or being grounded for a month is not practical. Appropriate consequences could include removing a privilege, assigning extra chores, or reducing the length of time spent grounded.
- Maintain composure and keep your attention on the problem of vaping, then impose appropriate consequences. Your adolescent probably will get emotional but resist the urge to engage in a power struggle with him.
- Invite him to help devise a strategy to quit vaping. Teens who have a hand in formulating a strategy are more likely to see it through. To help him quit, you could suggest healthier alternatives like chewing gum or suggest things to say to his vaping friends.
The Best Way To Stop Young People From Starting To Smoke Electronic Cigarettes
One’s adolescence is the “prime time” to start smoking or vaping. In order to save their children the difficulty of quitting later, parents can assist their children in avoiding starting. It’s fine to broach the subject of smoking and vaping with your kids gradually as opportunities arise.
- Before your children enter middle school, begin a conversation with them about the dangers of smoking and vaping, and continue the conversation throughout their time in middle school and high school. Tell your loved ones that smoking and vaping are bad choices that won’t be tolerated in your home.
- Remind young people that under 21 years of age it is against the law in Texas to smoke or use electronic cigarettes.
- As vaping is becoming increasingly mainstream, young people of all ages will be exposed to it through their friends, families, and the media.
- Learn the fundamentals of vaping so you can confidently respond to their queries. Ask them to look up the answers together if they have questions you can’t address.
- Try to bring it up in casual settings, like when you walk by a vape shop or when you see someone vaping in the wild.
Being a Good Example
Children pick up on social cues from their parents. Your own actions and outlook can set the stage.
- Foster an open line of communication so your children can discuss sensitive issues with you. Let them know that you will listen to them and help in any way you can.
- Encourage your children frequently and in constructive ways. Teens may act like they don’t care what you think, but they really need to know that you’re on their side and paying attention.
- Involve yourself in your teen’s life and push them toward constructive pursuits. Some children find that through group activities like sports, music, or other clubs. For some, supporting a good cause like Say What!, an organization working to reduce tobacco use, maybe the key to quitting smoking for good. Keeping a child’s attention on constructive pursuits gives them the fortitude and motivation to avoid risky actions.
- It’s never too late to kick the habit of smoking or vaping. It sends a strong message to kids that they can find support if they’re ready to stop smoking. Don’t feel obligated to give up without first discussing the difficulties you’ve encountered. Tell your children how difficult it was to give up smoking or vaping if you did so.
Maintain the flow of the discussion.
Whether or not vaping is widespread doesn’t seem to matter much when considering the facts. You need to know about vaping and how to talk to your children about the risks and the laws to keep them safe.
Vaping is a sensitive topic that you, as a parent of teenagers, will likely have to broach more than once. If your teen resists your efforts to have a serious conversation about the risks of vaping, try not to take it personally. You should actively seek out opportunities to continue talking about this issue. Vaping leaves no lingering odor, unlike smoking cigarettes. Maintain contact to show him how much you value his well-being.
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