Attention Parents: Vaping isn’t innocent. It’s addictive.
You probably already know that vaping among teenagers has been deemed an epidemic by the U.S. Surgeon General. It’s easy to see when you consider this:
- 1 out of 4 high schoolers vape
- 1 out of 10 middle schoolers vape
If you think those numbers are upsetting, you’re right. Especially when you know how addictive vaping can be because of the high nicotine content.
Talk to your kids about how addictive vaping really is
Kids are being led to believe that they’re only vaping flavored water, when in reality almost all vaping e-liquid contains nicotine and other harmful chemicals like lead, diacetyl and more. That’s why it’s so important to have an honest conversation with your kids.
Have a conversation
START THE CONVERSATION
Find the right moment.
- A more natural discussion will increase the likelihood that your teen will listen. Rather than saying “we need to talk,” you might ask your teen what he or she thinks about a situation you witness together, such as:
- Seeing someone use an e-cigarette in person or in a video.
- Passing an e-cigarette shop when you are walking or driving.
- Seeing an e-cigarette advertisement in a store or magazine or on the internet.
ANSWER THEIR QUESTIONS
Here are some questions and comments you might get from your teen about e-cigarettes and some ideas about how you can answer them:
Why don’t you want me to use e-cigarettes?
- Science shows that e-cigarettes contain ingredients that are addictive and could harm different parts of your body. Right now, your brain is still developing, which means you are more vulnerable to addiction.
- Many e-cigarettes contain nicotine, and using nicotine can change your brain to make you crave more nicotine.
- It can also affect your memory and concentration. I don’t want that for you!
- E-cigarettes contain chemicals that are harmful. When people use e-cigarettes, they breathe in tiny particles that can harm their lungs.
- The cloud that people exhale from e-cigarettes can expose you to chemicals that are not safe to breathe.
What’s the big deal about nicotine?
- Your brain is still developing until about age 25. The Surgeon General reported that nicotine is addictive and can harm your brain development.
- Using nicotine at your age may make it harder for you to concentrate, learn or control your impulses.
- Nicotine can even train your brain to be more easily addicted to other drugs like meth and cocaine.
- I don’t say this to scare you, but I want you to have the facts because nothing is more important to me than your health and safety.
Aren’t e-cigarettes safer than conventional cigarettes?
- Because your brain is still developing, scientific studies show that it isn’t safe for you to use any tobacco product that contains nicotine, including e-cigarettes.
- Whether you get nicotine from an e-cigarette or a cigarette, it’s still risky.
- Some e-cigarette batteries have even exploded and hurt people.
I thought e-cigarettes didn’t have nicotine – just water and flavoring?
- I used to think that too. But many e-cigarettes have nicotine. There are also other chemicals in them that can be harmful.
- Let’s look at the Surgeon General’s website on e-cigarettes (E-cigarettes.SurgeonGeneral.gov) together so you can see for yourself.
I (or my friends) have tried e-cigarettes and it was no big deal.
- I appreciate your honesty. In the future, I hope you (or your friends) will stay away from e-cigarettes and other tobacco products, including cigarettes. Science shows that e-cigarettes contain ingredients that are addictive and could harm different parts of your body.
- Next time we go to the doctor, let’s ask about the risks of nicotine, e-cigarettes and other tobacco products.
If you talk, they’ll listen
Once you start a conversation with your kids, make sure you keep the line of communication open. Keep talking to them about the dangers of vaping and why they should avoid it. The more you talk, the more likely they will never try vaping in the first place.