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My Kid is Vaping, Help!

So you walked into your kids room to a sickly sweet smell even though you thought for sure you told them candy isn’t allowed in their bedroom because it will attract all kinds of unfavorable pests. Only this time, it isn’t candy. You find an empty vape cartridge hidden under some wadded up tissue paper in their trash bin turning it into a homemade air freshener. What do you do now? First things first, remain calm. A reactive parent is not rewarded with a responsive child and you need to collect the facts before you chat.

Step 1: First things first, remain calm.

A reactive parent is not rewarded with a responsive child and you need to collect the facts before you chat.

Step 2: Collect The Facts

Did you know that the vapor produced by these devices is NOT water vapor — it is a toxic aerosol that contains cancer-causing substances such as nicotine, glycerin, and propylene glycol? Vaping can also lead to addiction, asthma, and other adverse health conditions. Did you also know that tobacco companies are banking on the interest of young kids in their products which is why they spend so much time and money marketing their product toward them?

Step 3: Be Curious

Instead of putting your kid on the defensive, be curious about why they began vaping in the first place. Were they succumbing to peer pressure? Are they self medicating their physical or emotional duress? Did they try it to be cool and now they’re addicted? It may help to share a related story from your experience to remind them that parents are human too and humans make mistakes. Remaining curious about their motives helps you identify the problem and better come up with a solution. It may also help you see the problem as separate from your child and allow you to work together.

Step 4: Share what you learned

Most kids today have heard time and time again how smoking is bad for you and turns your lungs black. Chances are, if you come at them with the age old lecture, they will tune you right out. Instead, try informing them of how big tobacco companies are manipulating young children to ensure the prosperity of their businesses. Inform them of the risks of addiction/dependency.

 

Step 5: Create a plan of action

Once you have identified the reason or reasons for your child’s vaping habit, particularly the positive side effects of it, you can begin coming up with healthier habits that may bring about the same benefits. Together, come up with more beneficial ways to meet their needs. Ex: If it is a way to socialize with friends perhaps you can host a game night, movie night, pizza party, or pool party. Ex: If it is helping them cope with hyperactivity, perhaps investing in some fidget gadgets or incorporating breaks into their routine where they can move around and change their scenery. Ex: If vaping is helping them calm themselves, perhaps incorporating breathing exercises or mindfulness.

Step 6: Be prepared for withdrawals

Vaping comes with a high risk of addiction/dependency which can look different in everyone. Signs of addiction include morning withdrawal headaches, mood swings, shaking of the hands, heightened feelings of anxiety and/or depression. Withdrawals from nicotine can last a few days to a few weeks. Symptoms include: headaches and dizziness, cravings, fatigue and insomnia, irritability, etc.

The best thing you can do is actively support them. Set clear boundaries, ask them what they need, offer to help them practice their new replacement habits, etc.

For more information on what vaping, juuling, and e-cigarettes are:
https://stopswithme.com/dangers-of-tobacco-products/vaping-e-cigarettes/

For more information on marketing to youth:
https://stopswithme.com/exposing-big-tobacco/targeting-our-children/

For more information on prevention:
https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-lifestyle/quit-smoking-tobacco/how-to-keep-kids-and-teens-from-smoking-and-vaping