How to Talk to Teens About Electronic Cigarettes
The number of high schools seniors who report using e-cigarettes grew by more than 10% between 2017 and 2018. Now, more than 37% of these teenagers have used an e-cigarette in the preceding 12 months. The use among younger teens has grown as well. As many as one in every ten eighth graders has tried vaping in the past year. With statistics like that, parents can be sure that either their teens or someone they know use these devices.
As with other dangerous activities, parents should help their kids understand the risks and avoid using e-cigarettes. First, you should open a conversation about these products as soon as you believe your teen can understand this topic. Use the following techniques in your discussion:
- Do Your Research: Before you talk to your teen about e-cigarettes, be sure to know the facts. Learn about the real dangers of using them, different types of e-cigarettes, and why so many teenagers want to use them.
- Actively Listen: Resist the urge to lecture your teen on all the dangers and statistics. Such an approach may fall on deaf ears. Instead, ask questions. You may ask if they know anyone who vapes, how they feel about it, and what draws them to e-cigarettes.
- Avoid Anger: Since so many teens experiment with e-cigarettes, there is a chance you may find out that your child has tried vaping. It’s important not to react with anger. If you want your teen to come to you for help in the future, try to understand where they are coming from.
- Acknowledge Their Power: Although you may wish to demand that your teen never looks at an e-cigarette, these lectures may turn teens away and make them want to rebel. Instead, try telling them that you hope they will avoid tobacco, but you know that they have to make that decision on their own.
The Dangers of e-Cigarettes
While e-cigarettes do not pose the same dangers as their traditional counterparts, they can still cause serious harm, especially to developing teenagers. First of all, teens who use e-cigarettes are more likely to smoke traditional cigarettes as adults. This can lead to several serious health problems, including lung cancer, stroke, COPD, and heart disease.
Even if teens do not pick up cigarette habits, vaping during their teen years can cause damage to their brains and lungs. The Surgeon General of the United States warns that teens who use e-cigarettes risk proper brain development.
Until about the mid-20s, people’s brains continue to develop, especially the parts that control decision-making and impulse control. Nicotine, which is found in most e-cigarette products, can disrupt this development during adolescence. This disruption can cause a lifelong impairment of some important brain functions.
Harvard Health also reports that prolonged exposure to nicotine in any form can cause all of the following health problems:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Increased heart rate
- High blood pressure
- Addiction to other drugs
The aerosol that e-cigarettes use to deliver the nicotine contains harmful chemicals like diacetyl, benzene, lead, nickel, and tin. Small particles of these dangerous compounds enter users’ lungs. These chemicals have been known to cause lung disease and other impairments.
How to Help a Teen Who Vapes
If you discover that your teen uses tobacco on a regular basis, your family may need professional help to break the addiction. The compassionate professionals at FLBH can offer smoking cessation programs that help. Request an appointment today with a Florida therapist to put your teen on the road to recovery and healthy habits.