Teens, E-Cigarettes and Vaping
Apr 27, 2020
What’s the Deal with Vaping?
Teen vaping and e-cigarette use is being referred to as an epidemic. Even though it is illegal in all states for anyone to purchase e-cigarettes under the age of 18 or 21, teens are still easily able to access these products. Unlike regular cigarettes, there is not a distinct odor, so teens are able to be very secretive with their use. The manufacturers of these products also target teens, many of whom are misinformed by thinking that e-cigarettes or vaping are not harmful.
Harmful effects of e-cigarettes / vaping:
- Vaping can result in a nicotine addiction. Teens are more likely to get addicted because they do not have a fully developed brain.
- There are several additives in e-cigarettes that are known toxins, heavy metals and carcinogens.
- Inhaling the vape liquids can cause serious lung disease.
- There is an increase in teens vaping THC as well as nicotine.
- Even if not becoming addicted to nicotine, using e-cigarettes can become a behavioral addiction that is just as hard to quit.
- It lowers the immune system
- Vaping is linked to future smoking and illegal drug use.
- It can slow brain development in teens and impact mood, attention, impulse-control and memory.
- The long-term effects are still not fully known.
What to do if your teen is vaping:
- Try to remain calm, even if you are angry and/or scared.
- Ask them to explain why they are doing it? Try to get them to uncover what is driving the behavior (they very well may not know until you ask the question).
- Have them explore what they are getting from it? Are they addicted to the nicotine or are they doing it to fit in or because it makes them feel grown up?
- Don’t lecture but share the facts in a non-shaming way. Often when teens feel they are being lectured to, they work harder to defend their behavior which increases their commitment to continue the behavior and prove you wrong.
- Help them see how they are being manipulated by manufacturers. This may be a more effective way of helping them see the dangers without them feeling like you are lecturing them.
- Set expectations and have consequences that you enforce consistently.
How to help them quit if they have become addicted:
- Call the CDC’s Quit Line at 800-784-8669.
- Have your teen sign up for This is Quitting, which is a free mobile, text messaging program designed to help kids quit vaping. https://truthinitiative.org/thisisquitting.
- Speak with your teen’s doctor about approved smoking cessation interventions.
- Check out the resources on Smoke Free Teen https://teen.smokefree.gov/.
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