(New Philadelphia, Ohio) – The short answer is that vaping isn’t considered safe for teens and young adults, especially since their brains are still developing.
This information series is brought to you by the Tuscarawas County Anti-Drug Coalition.
With so many concerns regarding teen vaping, parents may be wondering what they can do to safeguard against it. Here are a few recommendations courtesy of Partnership for Drug-Free Kids and the Tuscarawas County Anti-Drug Coalition.
Be equipped with the facts.
Reading through this resource, perhaps more than once, will help you understand the vaping landscape. It’s important to be familiar with vape devices (especially JUUL due to its popularity), what’s being vaped (i.e. flavorings, nicotine, and/or marijuana) and associated risks.
Look for opportunities to discuss vaping with your child. Opportunities may present themselves in numerous ways: letters from the school about vaping policies, advertisements, seeing someone vaping on TV, walking by someone who creates a huge cloud on the street, or passing a vape shop. Be ready to listen rather than give a lecture. Try using open-ended questions to get the conversation going such as, “What do you think about vaping?”
Try to understand why.
Most kids start vaping due to curiosity, the flavors, cloud tricks, wanting to fit in, etc. Over time, vaping can become habitual as it is used to address other needs such as relief from boredom and anxiety. Some kids also become addicted to nicotine and continue vaping to avoid withdrawal symptoms. It helps to understand why your child is vaping by asking questions like: “What do you enjoy about vaping?” or “How does vaping make you feel?” Answers to these questions highlight your child’s needs that can be addressed in a healthier way.
Convey your expectations.
Set clear expectations. Express your understanding of the risks, but also why a person might want to vape. Share why you don’t want your child vaping (i.e. concern about toxins, nicotine, marijuana, unknown health risks,
injuries due to batteries, the gateway to cigarette smoking). If you choose to set consequences, be sure to follow through, while reinforcing healthier choices.
Role play refusal skills.
If you have a younger teen, it may help to teach your child refusal skills. After all, if your child is in middle school or older, they are likely to be in social situations where they are offered an opportunity to try a flavor. You might ask, “What would you say if someone offered you their vape?” See how your child would handle the situation. Practicing something along the lines of “No thanks, I’m not interested,” said with direct eye contact and assertive body language can help your child be prepared.
Be a good role model.
Set a positive example by being vape and tobacco-free. If you do vape, keep your equipment and supplies secured.