Vaping among teens is spreading like wildfire. It has become a health crisis. Learn what parents can do to save their teen from the vaping epidemic.
How Parents Can Save Their Teens from the Vaping Epidemic
When you’re raising teens or tweens, life isn’t easy. They’re at a stage of life where their emotions run high and they are experimenting with lots of things. Some of the things they get into, thanks to peer pressure or curiosity, aren’t good for them and vaping is a good example of this.
When vaping first hit the scene, parents and teens alike thought it was relatively harmless. E-cigarettes were marketed as –and considered- better alternatives to the traditional tobacco-laden cigarettes. Unfortunately, vaping is not as benign as once thought and health experts are now concerned about the long-term health effects.
To make matters worse, vaping has become increasingly popular with teens in recent years. Statistics from the National Institute on Drug Abuse show that teen vaping has doubled since 2017. Now 25% of 12th graders, 20% of 10th graders and 9% of 8th graders are reported to have vaped at some point in their lives.
Why is vaping appealing to young people?
There are several reasons why teens love to vape including:
- E-cigarettes are easier to get a hold of since they are marketed towards young people.
- E-cigarettes have an unrecognizable odor so they don’t leave a smell like tobacco, making it easy to get away with vaping.
- Vaping is considered trendy and a safe alternative to cigarettes and alcohol and this misconception drives the habit.
Why are e-cigarettes dangerous?
You might be wondering what the big deal is with vaping. After all, e-cigarettes are relatively harmless, right?
According to the CDC, the aerosol that e-cigarette users breathe via the various vaping devices often contains other harmful substances. These include nicotine- a highly addictive substance, volatile organic compounds, heavy metals, and certain cancer-causing chemicals. Some types of e-cigarettes have fruit or candy flavoring, making them more appealing to teens. However, these chemical flavorings can contain harmful substances, some of which have been linked to cancer.
More worrisome is the nicotine content found in e-cigs. Other than being addictive, exposure to nicotine can result in adverse effects on young, developing brains harming the parts that control learning, mood, attention span, and impulse control.
The CDC also warns that vaping might increase susceptibility to addiction to other drugs, especially cigarettes, in the future.
What Can Parents Do?
As a parent, you don’t have to wait for your teen to get hooked on vaping. Be proactive by taking the following steps:
- Doing your own research to learn all you can about vaping. There are plenty of resources on vaping out there that you can use to educate yourself. Additionally, look up e-cigarettes to know what they look like so you can easily identify them.
- Have a discussion with your teen and educate them on the harm posed by e-cigarettes. Use facts and educate them that e-cigs contain nicotine which is both harmful and highly addictive. Start this conversation early in their lives so that they’re aware of the facts as they enter their teen years.
- Be clear with your teens that you will not tolerate smoking of any kind –vaping, cigarettes, marijuana- in your house. Making your stand clear and having zero-tolerance against these substances can be enough to deter your teens from experimenting with them.
- Set a good example yourself by being tobacco-free. Your teens are always watching and taking cues from you so your behavior carries more weight than what you tell them.
- While vaping can be hard to detect, keep an eye out for warning signs or symptoms. One of the tell-tale symptoms is a stubborn dry cough. Get professional help for your teen if you suspect that they are addicted to vaping.
E-cigarettes and vaping are not harmless. Educating your teen about the risks and dangers associated with these substances can go a long way towards protecting them from addiction.
Tyler enjoys going to the mountains near his home in Draper, Utah to connect with his wife and children through camping, hiking, and quality time together. When he isn’t rebooting in the outdoors, he shares his fatherly experiences with the world through writing and creative designs. Tyler shares the ups and downs of family life and the solutions he’s found through lengthy research and involvement in the industry and his own experiences to help parents everywhere. Follow Tyler on:Twitter | LinkedIn
I am always thankful to have Tyler Jacobson write for my blog because he covers a topic that I am not yet familiar with: teenagers.
Check out Tyler’s other on-point articles: