Vaping and Parenting
Getting rid of this addiction can prove to be extremely difficult, which is why many have now started switching to e-cigs. Mimicking the sensation of smoking up to a certain point, vaping makes life way easier for those struggling with a nicotine withdrawals.
It is also a known fact that children learn from their parents’ behavior. So, it may not be long before your child gets curious about this device that their parents use to exhale a lovely smelling cloud of vapor, and would want to try it out. Moreover, vaping is becoming a hip thing, which can attract young people easily. Let’s see what your options as a parent are.
A Rise in Vaping Among Teenagers
According to federal statistics, smoking among teenagers has been a major concern for a number of years. It states that around 90% of people who smoke, start smoking before they reach the age of 19. Since vaping has become a ‘’thing’’, the rise in numbers of vaping teens has also become a great reason for concern.
Vaping is rapidly becoming a popular pastime among high school students, as it is more difficult to detect via smell for instance. By 2015, 19% of high school boys and 12.8% of high school girls have tried an electronic cigarette.
Vaping and Parenting: The Good News
Two interesting pieces of information to note.
Firstly, between 2013 and 2014, the statistics of high school students who have smoked tobacco cigarettes, have dropped from 12.7% to 9.2%. The reason being that high school kids have decided to make a switch from tobacco to vaping, or that ‘’new smokers’’ have started vaping instead of smoking in the first place.
So, if we put together the two above pieces of research, it debunks the claim that vaping is a gateway for teenagers to the world of tobacco.
Vaping and Parenting: The Bad News
Just because of the above, it doesn’t mean that parents shouldn’t be concerned. Vaping is relatively new, and there is no long-term data available indicating the harmfulness of vaping. As mentioned previously, vaping doesn’t come with that distinct smell of tobacco, and it evaporates way faster than smoke.
Vaping devices can also be concealable and difficult to distinguish from a normal writing pen, depending on the model that the teenager uses. This means that it could be difficult for a parent of the teacher to catch a teenager smoking red handed.
A great risk these days is that some vaporizers are designed to smoke illegal substances. Again, because the devices can be concealed easily, and don’t necessarily produce huge clouds of vapor, it is more difficult to spot when your teenager is using his or her vaporizer to smoke marijuana.
How to Know if Your Child Is Vaping
Just like with any other substance use that someone is trying to hide, vaping and parenting don’t necessarily have to be difficult tasks to juggle. Here are seven subtle signals that your teen might be vaping:
Vaping devices come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The most common device chosen by a teenager would be a vape pen, as it can be difficult to distinguish between such a device and a normal writing pen. If the device can’t write, it is possibly a vaporizer. Look for holes on these unfamiliar devices.
Vapor doesn’t give off the same nasty smell that smoke does, in fact, it smells delicious. Deodorants come in different flavors, but you will hardly find one that smells like mint, fruit punch, or candy for instance. Also, if you as a parent catch a sudden whiff of this, but none of your kids are around, consider that a vape juice may be hidden somewhere. The smell doesn’t stick onto clothing for too long, unlike deodorant.
Sensitivity to Caffeine
It is easy for someone who vapes to develop a sensitivity to caffeine. So if your teenager used to love his or her cup of coffee in the morning, or other caffeinated drinks such as Red Bull – and suddenly they stop drinking those, it could be because they have developed a sensitivity to the caffeine content of the drink.
They are Thirsty All the Time
The chemical characteristics of Propylene Glycol (PG), one of the ingredients in vaping flavors, makes it attract water molecules from its surroundings. So, when vapor enters the mouth, PG gives the user dry mouth, hence increasing thirstiness. In other words, your child’s excuse for drinking more water isn’t necessarily because they want to be healthier, but to support a more unhealthy habit.
Weird metallic wires and cotton wicks
Thin metallic coils and organic cotton, as well as empty plastic vials lying around, should be seen as a red flag. It’s most probably not for a science project.
Again, not a science project. The atomizer of a vaporizer is the device that turns the juice into vapor. After a while, atomizers will burn out and needs to be replaced now and then. One of those in your kid’s trash can is a sign of your child vaping.
Interesting Batteries and Chargers
Okay, so most of your everyday devices these days needs to be charged. Nothing unfamiliar about that. Some vaporizers are charged using a USB cable. If your kid’s phone doesn’t use these specific cables, or if you see an unfamiliar battery on the charger, chances are you will find a vaping device in the vicinity.
So Your Child is a Vaper. What Now?
Step one to vaping and parenting: don’t panic! Here are some general guidelines to help you as a parent deal with the situation:
This is probably the most difficult one, as there are many television ads showing good looking people, looking good while vaping. Children are curious, and they will probably want to try it out themselves (most probably watching themselves in the mirror while doing this). If you’re a vaper yourself, try your best not to vape in front of your children, and try to look ‘’uncool’’ when you do it. If you have a sleek and elegant looking vape, conceal it. If necessary, preach. Explain to your children that you are vaping to reduce the harmfulness of tobacco.
Keep Your Vaping Accessories Out of Reach
Be a vaper that is responsible. Remember that most of the vaping gear isn’t child proof, except for the juices, which for some reason is easier for kids to open than it is for adults (trust me on this one). Keep your gear away from your curious children. Not only will they probably want to try it out, but if they do it wrong, it can have hazardous effects. It is also important to remember that e-liquids can contain nicotine and can cause nicotine poisoning when ingested.
Have the Talk
This is the most common advice given to parents when having to deal with their children’s issues. However, in the vase of vaping and parenting, you may want to explain to your child that the reason for you to quit smoking in the first place, was for their sake and that you wouldn’t want to see them taking the same path with addiction that you did. Another approach is simply forbidding it, but I’m sure most parents know very well how this approach goes down, especially in teenagers.
But whatever you decide to do, keep it casual and your mind open. Don’t ask yes or no questions, but rather questions such as ‘’do you know many kids who vape?’’ etc. Take note of their reaction.
Remember, children these days are more health savvy than a few years ago. If they know about the dangers of addiction, there is a chance that they will listen to what you have to say, and may even follow your advice.
To get to the root of the problem to stop them from vaping is to help them resist peer pressure in all its forms. Many people that start vaping are only doing so to fit in with the crowd. Parents role in discouraging teens from giving in to peer pressure is an important part of parenting. Building teens self-esteem is crucial to help them avoid making bad choices and should prevent them from vaping or other vices just to fit in.
Set an Example
Don’t want your children vaping? Don’t vape yourself. This gives out a way more powerful message than preaching to them about the rights and wrongs in life. Vaping AND parenting – not the best idea. Kids will inevitably take on whatever habits their parents have. Whether it is smoking cigarettes, drug use or vaping.
Vaping and Parenting: Conclusion
Even if vaping gets more and more popular, it is not a good idea for kids to get started. Especially when the vape juice in question is loaded with nicotine. Chronic exposure to nicotine can lead to changes in the brain. Developing brains like teens, are especially at risk for damage.
Whether or not e-cigarettes are safe, minors shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near it. The government and FDA are planning to put in place very strict rules and regulations, and many states prohibit the sale of e-cigs to minors. However, as a parent, you’re the only one responsible for keeping your kids from vaping. A little knowledge and vigilance can go a long way in keeping your kids healthy.