Teen Vaping and Talking to Your Child About It

Teenage vaping has been increasing at an alarming rate in recent years.  Most teens and adults believe that smoking using an electronic cigarette is healthier than smoking regular cigarettes.  This is not true and depending on the liquid that is being used, smoking with electronic cigarettes can be more harmful than smoking regular cigarettes.

What is vaping?

Vaping is inhaling and exhaling a heated liquid through a device called an electronic cigarette.  The liquid typically contains nicotine, flavoring, and other chemicals, but can also contain THC or other substances.

Terms to know

Electronic cigarettes are also known as e-cigarettes, e-cigs, e-hookah, vape pens, vapes, mods, tank systems, or electronic nicotine delivery systems. The liquid used in electronic cigarettes is also known as e-juice, e-liquid, vape juice, or vape liquid.  JUUL is a popular brand of electronic cigarettes that are shaped like a USB device and vaping is often referred to as “juuling.”

What should you know about vaping?

Most vaping involves nicotine, which is highly addictive and can be harmful to the adolescent brain.  Nicotine in teens can damage the parts of the brain that control attention, learning, mood, and impulse control.  Chemicals found in liquids used to vape have been found to cause lung irritation and could lead to lung disease.  Smoking electronic cigarettes can lead to nicotine addiction and increased likelihood of smoking cigarettes.  Electronic cigarettes can also be used to smoke THC, the main chemical in marijuana, which can lead to marijuana addiction.  Liquids used to vape are typically flavored in fruit or candy flavors, giving them the illusion that they are safe or child-friendly.  Also, the flavoring of the liquids can help to mask the smell of the chemicals or substances being inhaled and exhaled.  This can help to disguise what is being smoked.

How do you talk to your child about vaping?

Before you dive into a conversation with your child about vaping, make sure you know your facts.  Do some research from credible resources and be prepared to answer questions.  Go into the conversation with an open mind and ready to listen.  Try to hear your child’s thoughts and opinions before giving them all the facts that you have.  If you can, start the conversation at a natural moment instead of out of the blue.  For example, seeing an advertisement on television or a person in public smoking and asking your child their opinion of the situation.  Keep the conversation open and honest, while sticking to giving your child the facts about vaping rather than judging.  If needed, seek support from others who your child trusts, such as other family members, teachers, or counselors.


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