Time to Talk
More than 5,700 teens start vaping every day! Almost 40 percent of kids have vaped at least once, so chances are your teen has already tried it or soon will. Don’t let marketing, peer pressure and misconceptions be the only messages your teen gets about vaping.
Talking with teens about difficult subjects can be awkward. However, teens care about what their parents and other adults have to say, especially when the adults are also willing to listen. Now that you know more about vaping, it may be time to start the conversation.
Adolescence is prime time to develop the habit of smoking or vaping. Adults rarely pick up the habit. Help teens avoid addiction now and they won’t have to quit later.
Here are some tips that can help.
Be curious rather than judgmental. Ask your teen what they know about vaping, what they have seen and heard and what they think about it. Ask friendly open-ended questions and let the teen do most of the talking. Don’t worry if the conversation is short. The most important thing is to start talking.
Find teachable moments. Look for natural opportunities to discuss vaping. Examples might include seeing a vape store or advertisement, being around a person who vapes or seeing a news story or social media post about vaping. Start by listening to what your teen thinks before you share your own opinions and comments.
Share your own experiences. If you have smoked or vaped, discuss how you started and how it affected you. Hearing how you quit – or why you haven’t – can serve as a powerful example.
Share the facts you have learned. Vaping exposes teens to dangerous and addictive chemicals. Vaping is not safer than smoking! In fact, serious lung damage has been identified in young people who vaped for a relatively short time. Share these facts and express concern for the teen’s health and development.
Help them make a plan. Teens may feel peer pressure to vape with their friends. One way to help them resist is to discuss in advance how they can respond. You can help come up with ideas and practice what to say.
Help them quit when they are ready. Teens need to know you’re there to help rather than criticize. If your teen wants to quit vaping, call the Texas Quitline at 1-877-YES-QUIT or talk to their doctor. Let them know you are proud and ready to help.
Top Parenting Tips
More resources on how to talk to teens:
- Talking to Youth and Young Adults to Prevent E-cigarette Use - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- How to Talk with Young People - U.S. Surgeon General's Office
- How to Quit Vaping - National Cancer Institute’s Smokefree Teen