Having a conversation with your child about any sensitive subject is never easy, especially when it comes to their health. You can’t always control everything your child does when they’re not with you, but talking with your kids about vaping will let them know you care and are concerned about their health. It's important to know the facts about e-cigarettes and vaping before you start the conversation. Are you ready? If not, no worries. These helpful tips and resources will get you started.KNOW THE FACTS
What are E-cigarettes?
E-cigarettes are a type of Electronic Nicotine Delivery System (ENDS), a class of products that includes single-use e-cigarettes that look like traditional cigarettes and a range of “vaping” devices that look like futuristic, mechanical cigars or like everyday household devices such as thumb drives, pens, sticks of gum, or erasers. Today, the most the most popular brand of e-cigarette or vape product used by teens and young adults is the JUUL
. Most vaping products work by heating a liquid called an e-liquid or e-juice until it turns into an aerosol, which the user inhales. Most of the e-liquids contain highly concentrated nicotine along with other potentially toxic chemicals.What is Vaping?
Vaping is the act of inhaling and exhaling the aerosol, often referred to as vapor, which is produced by an e-cigarette or similar device. The term is used because e-cigarettes do not produce tobacco smoke, but rather an aerosol, often mistaken for water vapor, that actually consists of fine particles. Many of these particles contain varying amounts of toxic chemicals, which have been linked to cancer, as well as respiratory and heart disease.Who is the Target Audience for E-cigarettes?
E-cigarettes are cleverly marketed to adolescents and have made frequent appearances on social media newsfeeds and timelines. Most recently, emerging e-cigarette brands have relied heavily on social media to market and promote their products. For its launch in 2015, JUUL spent more than $1 million to market the product on the internet, according to one research study. The brand has paid for campaigns on Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube to promote images and company-sponsored ads that associate JUUL with being cool and having fun.
E-cigarettes/vape pens come in thousands of different flavors, which is the leading reason why youth are using e-cigarettes. The products are cheaply priced to encourage impulse buys by young people, and they are easy to purchase at gas stations, corner stores, mini-marts, and many more types of stores. What are the Health Risks?
• Nicotine use in early adolescence causes changes in the brain that make life-long addiction much more likely for young e-cig/vape users
• Ear, eye, and throat irritation is common among e-cigarette/vape pen users.
• The aerosols produced by the chemicals in e-juice enter into the user’s lungs unfiltered and leave chemical residue behind.
• These aerosols contain harmful chemicals and ultra-fine particles that are inhaled into the lungs and out into the environment making them harmful to the user and others nearby.
• Nicotine is known to have effects on the cardiovascular system. Some recent studies show that acute use of e-cigarette impaired flow-mediated dilation, this suggests that e-cigarettes can lead to cardiovascular diseases.KEYS TO A GOOD CONVERSATION
Be patient and ready to listen
Your goal is to have a conversation not to deliver a lecture. Avoid criticism and encourage an open dialogue. There is no “perfect time” to talk
Driving in the car together or waiting at an appointment is often the best time. You can start by mentioning a news story, a TV show, or something that you heard about vaping. Or ask your child what he or she thinks about a situation you witness together such as seeing someone use an e-cigarette, passing a vape shop when you are out, or seeing an e-cigarette advertisement. There is no “perfect” dialogue
Consider your talks with your child about vaping as a learning opportunity for both of you, and perhaps just the beginning of an ongoing dialogue. You may have some facts about vaping at hand, but concede that you don’t know all the answers. It will go a long way to keep your kids from going on the defensive.Ask your child for their perspective
Show some genuine curiosity. Ask your child, “What’s your take on vaping?” or “Do you know anyone who uses e-cigarettes?” Be open and honest
Be truthful about what you know about the dangers of e-cigarettes use and vaping, and what you don’t. You can honestly say, though, “Vaping isn’t harmless. I hope you can steer clear of it.”