There is a dangerous trend that is luring tweens and teens with its slick advertising and gimmicky claims of coolness; vaping. Vaping – or Juuling – is the act of smoking from an electronic cigarette that looks more like a USB port than a cigarette. E-cigarettes come in candy colours and flavors and make claims of being a cleaner alternative to traditional tobacco products, but they are in reality far more dangerous. Doctors and parents are seeing some scary things happening to kids who vape and this has many experts certain that vaping is causing addiction disorder symptoms in kids.
In a recent article by the Washington Post, parents described to a reporter how their children who vape have developed unpredictable and violent behaviours including resorting to stealing in order to pay for their habit. Kids are being diagnosed with lung disease and nicotine toxicity.
One glaring problem with vaping is that the product being delivered to the user is far more potent than a traditional tobacco product. All that nicotine in a young, growing body is already bad enough but since experts don’t really know how higher levels of nicotine react in young people, they are becoming increasingly concerned that the health risks are far worse than we can possibly know right now.
“We were thinking about vapes just like we thought about cigarettes. Over time we realised no, no. This is something really different,” Sharon Levy, director of the Adolescent Substance Use and Addiction Program at Boston Children’s Hospital, told the Washington Post. “These kids have behaviours that we often see in patients who have opioid or marijuana addiction, but we didn’t typically see with kids who developed addiction to traditional tobacco cigarettes.”
According to Public Health Insider, there are a few effective ways to talk to your kids about vaping. They suggest:
- Parents carve out a specific time to talk with your kids – and the sooner the better.
- Be direct with your kids and tell them that you do not want to them vape but also give your reasons why so that your kids can understand why you are concerned.
- Do more than say, “vaping is bad” by using facts to tell them exactly why vaping is bad. It is highly addictive, it can cause lung disease, it changes your personality and can make you moody and even violent.
- Some kids won’t respond to reasons like that, says the Public Health Insider site, so they suggest appealing directly to your child’s personal interest like “it will give you terrible smelling breath” for example.
- And finally, they brilliantly suggest that parents teach kids different ways to say no and to practice with them. Peer pressure is a real thing and having the tools to know how to say no without feeling bad is a powerful thing for any kid.
If your child is vaping or if you worry that he or she is at high risk, talk to your family doctor, school guidance counselor, or check out the amazing resources at Public Health Insider here.