As the school year begins, parents should be aware of the dangers of vaping. Vaping is seemingly everywhere, and vape pens contain dangerous and harmful chemicals. Your child can’t beat the pressure to vape alone.
According to the 2021 SD Youth Tobacco Survey, 46.1 percent of middle school students who used e-cigarettes cited their friends as their main reason for using.
To effectively communicate the dangers of vaping to your kids, you’ll need to know what you’re fighting against first. Get to know the facts, be open with your kids and prevent the harmful effects of vaping.
Be Open, Patient & Approachable
If you’re hoping to have a conversation with your child about vaping or tobacco use, don’t force it. Allow the discussion to come up as organically as possible. Maybe together you walked by an e-cigarette shop, saw an advertisement about nicotine products or witnessed someone vaping. Be inquisitive. Ask your child or teen their thoughts on what you both saw.
Make sure to create a safe space. Be patient, remain open and have a constructive conversation. Don’t be critical or lecture. Often, it’s easier to have this conversation frequently and in short segments. Make yourself as understanding and approachable about the subject as possible.
Prepare with the Facts
Don’t run into the situation unprepared. Set yourself up for success by gathering the facts to answer questions and make the most of your conversation.
Consider how to answer any questions they may have. Here are some suggested responses:
What is vaping?
A lot of people see vaping as an alternative to smoking, by using electronic cigarettes, which are also known as e-cigarettes, vape pens, “nic sticks,” vapes and more. Some are even disposable. But e-cigarettes are incredibly dangerous to anyone who uses them, no matter what your friends say. Most vapes contain nicotine, which is highly addictive. As your parent, I want you to be ready to put yourself first. Vaping is dangerous to your health. If anyone offers you a hit, say no.
All my friends do it. Why can’t I?
When you vape, no one wins—not you, not your health, not the earth and not those around you. It’s not safe. Even though you may feel invincible now, vaping can have serious effects on your health. Putting your health at risk is never cool, and you should be ready to say no. Putting yourself first is the most important decision you can make.
Waste from vape pens is also terrible for the environment. Since the e-liquid pods and disposable e-cigarettes are made of materials that aren’t biodegradable, they pollute the earth’s waterways and wildlife. According to the Truth Initiative, both the batteries and devices can contain toxic substances like lead and mercury that aren’t safe for the environment either.
But isn’t it better than smoking?
A lot of things are safer than smoking than cigarettes, but that doesn’t mean they are safe. Just like smoking, vaping can cause serious damage to your health. Some kids just like you who vape have gotten lung disease or heart disease and wound up stuck in the hospital.
What makes vaping so bad for me?
One puff can lead to a nicotine addiction. Vaping can damage your brain function, lungs, teeth and more.
You could be constantly struggling to breathe, experience some seriously gross coughing fits and always be winded.
You could develop some awfully bad breath and rotting teeth.
One of the scariest things about vaping is the effect it has on your brain. You could struggle in school, be stressed all the time and make some terrible decisions based on stunted brain function. This damage can be permanent and can affect you the rest of your life.
Prepare for any other questions, and explore the facts about vaping.
Set an Example—Be Tobacco-Free
Your kids look up to you. If you smoke, vape or use smokeless tobacco, they are more likely to think using tobacco products in any form is okay. Make sure you’re setting the right example. Nix the nicotine.