Tips For Parents Talking With Kids About Vaping

With the advent of the Internet, kids have a world of information at the click of a button. All it takes for them to learn about vaping is to do a quick web search and they’ll jump to their own conclusions about the risks of vaping. Don’t wait for that day to come! It’s more critical than ever for you, as a parent to engage in open and honest communication about vaping with your children. Then you can steer them in the direction of accurate information and have a meaningful discussion to share with them the dangers of vaping. If you’re afraid to broach this sensitive topic or are concerned that your child might already be vaping, you’re in the right place. The SBIRT team is here to share valuable tips for discussing vaping with your kids and recognizing signs that they might already be vaping.

How Parents Can Talk About Vaping

  • Start Early and Keep the Conversation Ongoing: Start the vaping conversation early and build a safe environment for your child to discuss their questions, concerns, and experiences. Make these conversations a regular part of your life. 
  • Educate Yourself: Make sure you can recognize the various vaping devices and learn all about the potential health risks of vaping before talking to your child. You don’t want to scare them but you want to be able to answer questions factually and honestly. 
  • Avoid Judgment: Focusing on empathy and a judgment-free zone is crucial for building safe, open communication. Make sure it’s clear that you’re not there to confront, accuse, or judge but you’re there because you are about them and want to guide them to health and safety.
  • Encourage Critical Thinking: Encourage your children to think for themselves. Discuss how the media and marketing tactics may lead toward vaping.
  • Give Examples and Solutions: Sharing real-life stories of the consequences of vaping may help your child consider the risks more realistically. Role-playing on how to say no to peer pressure or avoid risky situations can help prepare your child for the inevitable pressure and conversations about vaping.

Signs Your Kid is Vaping

A little observation can go a long way. If you think your child may be vaping, keep a close eye out for the following factors.

Unusual Smells

Many vapes have a sweet, enticing smell. If you smell something that smells fruity, like freshly baked cookies, granola, strawberry, or other sweet odors that seem out of place or unfamiliar, your child might be vaping. You may notice these scents in their bedrooms or on their clothing or breath. 

Changes in Behavior

If your teen suddenly becomes secretive, avoids you, is highly irritable, or has an explained shift in friends, these may be signs that your child is vaping. You may also see a formerly athletic child avoid physical exertion or a good student start to flail academically.

Physical Symptoms

Along with changes in behavior, if your child is vaping, you may notice that your child has a persistent cough (without having been sick), is thirsty all the time, or has throat issues suddenly.

What Can Parents Do to Help Kids Avoid Vaping?

Talking to your kids about vaping and understanding the signs that your child is vaping is a crucial part of your job as a parent. If you initiate open, non-judgemental conversation, pay close attention, and leave the door open for honesty and discussion, you may be able to protect your child from forming a harmful habit and help your teen make wise decisions about vaping. If you suspect your teen is already vaping, have them take a quick, 100% online SBIRT quiz. This will be a solid indicator if your teen needs support, as well as pointing out the right resources in your local area to best support you and your child.