How to Talk to Your Kids About Vaping
The American Lung Associations is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research. They offer a variety of resources to the community. Recently they wrote specifically to parents of teenagers about the dangers of vaping.
Even if it makes you uncomfortable, and even if your child might think you are uncool and annoying for bringing this up, this is an important topic to discuss. The health risks are real, and your kids need you to fight for them. Just have the talk.
First things first. Before you have the conversation with your kids, know the facts.
WHAT PARENTS NEED TO KNOW
You’ve probably heard a variety of terminology, but don’t let that confuse you. JUUL, vapes and vape pens are all forms of e-cigarettes and they’re all dangerous.
There is a misconception that vapes are just flavors and steam. Not true. Vaping is highly addictive. In fact, one JUUL pod contains as much nicotine as 20 cigarettes, or about one pack of cigarettes. Vape pods also contain toxins and carcinogens, including formaldehyde, propylene glycol and acrolein, which can cause irreversible lung damage. And because vaping is new, we’re still uncovering its long-term health effects.
All these risks are being funded by a familiar foe, Big Tobacco. Altria, the owner of Marlboro, is the primary investor in JUUL. Now these tobacco firms are targeting your kids. Parents are in the best position to protect their kids against such powerful and dangerous opponents.
SIGNS YOUR KID MIGHT ALREADY BE VAPING
Over 27% of high school students have used e-cigarettes in the last month, and it’s likely their parents don’t even know. Vaping is easy to hide. Unlike traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes don’t leave the telltale scent of tobacco. But there are clues.
Look for changes in your kid’s behavior. They might start cutting back on caffeine or getting
frequent nosebleeds. Also look for signs around the house. Vape pens can look like markers or USB flash drives and have disposable flavor pods, so look for discarded pods in the trash. And since vape pods come in lots of flavors, take note of any new sweet scents in their rooms or on their clothes.
TIPS FOR A HEALTHY DISCUSSION
Choose the right time and place. Choose a time when your kid won’t feel rushed and a place where they feel relaxed, like when you’re riding in the car or sitting at the dinner table. By choosing a place you both feel comfortable, you’ll both be more inclined to open up.
Appeal to their good judgement. Your kid makes smart decisions every day. Resisting the temptation to vape can be one of them. Compliment their good judgement. Remind them that they are an independent thinker who doesn’t have to be influenced by peer pressure. Tell them you’re proud of their courage and principles.
Ask open-ended questions. Instead of asking yes or no questions, ask open-ended questions that encourage participation. If you’re genuinely curious, your kid will be less likely to get defensive.
For conversation starters and additional help and resources, please visit the full article HERE.