First, get the facts before you have a chat.
Many youth who vape believe that what they’re using is just harmless water vapor. In order to understand what they’re using and what they’re going through, it’s important to get informed about vaping before you discuss it.
Most vapes contain nicotine. Many even say “nicotine free” on the label. Most teens start out thinking they can stop whenever they want and won’t ever become addicted. And lots more start smoking cigarettes, a product that kills half its users. In fact, a teen who vapes is four times more likely to start smoking.
On top of that, teens who JUUL or vape nicotine or THC from marijuana may have trouble learning and memory issues. Both nicotine and THC have negative effects on adolescent brain development. Find more information here.
Invite your child to talk, be patient and ready to listen.
If your child is caught vaping or admits to vaping, try to stay calm and non-judgmental. Listen, don’t lecture.
- Try to understand their feelings.
- Avoid showing judgment.
- Keep asking questions and check to make sure you understand.
This is an excellent opportunity to talk about it and learn why they were doing it. Say things like, “Tell me more about what led you to vape.” and “What are some of the reasons?” Let them know you are concerned about their vape use becoming more frequent, but try to encourage them to keep talking by asking open-ended, non-judgmental questions.
Try to find out if there is a deeper problem.
If they vaped more than once, or are currently vaping, try to get a feel for why. For example, determine if or how their relationships with others have changed, if they are under added stress at school, if their grades have changed, or if they’re hanging out with a different crowd.
Support them in quitting.
If they show any interest in quitting, congratulate them, and ask which resources or strategies they think might work best for them. Talk to your doctor or suggest they check out the Colorado QuitLine. The QuitLine now serves Coloradans as young as 12 years old who want to quit vaping, smoking or chewing. They can enroll themselves quickly and easily at www.coquitline.org or 1-800-QUIT-NOW to get coaching, either through chat or over the phone. Coaching is free, confidential, non-judgmental and is shown to increase the chances of quit success. You can also call the QuitLine yourself to learn more about how to best support your child.