Vaping has become a popular activity among many teens and young adults, but with recent health concerns coming forward, many parents have good reason to be concerned. Even if your child does not vape, there’s a good chance they have at least one friend who does. Here’s how you can start the conversation with your teen about vaping.
1. Encourage questions
While it can be scary to think of your teen or their friends having vaped, it’s important to not start this conversation with a monologue about how bad vaping is. Instead, start the conversation just like you would about any other concern regarding substance abuse. When you begin with asking them their opinions, and then experiences, you give them the chance to be honest with you and learn that it’s safe to do so. Invite them to ask questions back to you if they have any so you can get them factual, important information on the topic. That way, when they need information in the future, they’re more likely to ask you or go back to resources you’ve shared!
2. Focus on concerns, not judgment
One of the quickest ways to make your child tune out of a conversation is to make them feel like you are judging their friends. No one likes to feel like someone they know is doing something wrong! Rather than talking poorly about people who do vape, focus on your concerns regarding the health risks of vaping. Be honest about the fact that, while e-cigarettes are likely less harmful than using illegal drugs, nicotine is still addictive in e-cigarettes just like it is in other products. By leading with health and safety concerns, rather than judgment, you give them a chance to ask questions and learn the truth in a safe place!
3. If your teen has vaped, connect them with resources to quit
There are lots of options available to help people quit addictive substances, and that includes nicotine! If your teen has been vaping in large amounts or for some time, it may be a good idea to involve a medical professional to make sure they quit in a safe and sustainable way. Consider including other resources as well, like mobile apps designed to help teens quit! Make sure your child knows they are not alone in this and you are there for them through the process.
Now, you are better prepared to start the conversation with your teen about vaping.