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Vaping & E-Cigarettes

Attention Parents: Vaping isn’t innocent. It’s addictive.

Examples of electronic cigarettesDid you know that the U.S. Surgeon General declared teen age vaping an epidemic? It’s easy to see when you consider this:

  • 1 out of 4 high schoolers vape
  • 1 out of 10 middle schoolers vape

Closer to home, the 2021 Iowa Youth Survey1 found that more than one in four high school seniors had used tobacco in the last 30 days. The vast majority prefer e-cigarettes to traditional tobacco products. In 2021, 21.0 percent of 11th grade students admitted to using e-cigarettes in the last 30 days. That is even higher than the number of 11th grade students who used alcohol.

This news might be worrisome to you but know that many parents are in your same situation. Arm yourself with information and have an open discussion with your child is a place to start good start. How a parent reacts when they discover their child is vaping can have a huge impact on their child’s behavior.

1. 2021 Iowa Youth Survey. Iowa Department of Public Health Division of Behavioral Health Iowa, Department of Human Rights Division of Criminal and Juvenile Justice Planning. 

Mom talking to her teen son If you want to help your teen quit vaping, here are a few tips for talking with them about vaping:

1. Know the facts. Start by recognizing vaping products. They are often look like a USB flash drive, a pen or even a watch. Fewer than half – 44.2 percent – of parents could identify a picture of a JUUL as a type of e-cigarette. More than one third could not recognize the device at all. Educate yourself on the products and the risks of vaping.

2. Give them time. Teenagers often struggle to articulate themselves. Give them the space to say what they need to say without scolding or jumping all over them. Create an environment that is easier for your teen to talk about it. For example, in the car when you are driving, ask, “I hear vaping is popular at school, are your friends doing that?”

3. Check your emotions. Approach your teen from a place of nonjudgement. This can be hard. You may feel lost and even a little desperate to help your child stop but be patient. Approach the conversation as a way to understand versus judge.

4. Assess the situation. Your teen may want to stop but they may be having a hard time doing so. Many young people are not aware e-cigarettes contain nicotine or that nicotine addictive. Try to determine if your teen is struggling to stop vaping.

Connect your teen with support

My Life My Quit is a free youth tobacco-cessation program to help your teen navigate their quit journey. 

Visit My Life My Quit

Looking for support for yourself?

Quitline Iowa is available to help adults quit tobacco products. It is free and confidential. 

Visit Quitline Iowa

Are you, friends or family with someone who uses tobacco?

Find out how Your Life Iowa can provide support for them - and you. 

Get Help