Clearing the Air: A Parent’s Guide to Having Conversations with Teenagers about Vaping

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Vaping has been somewhat misaligned. First introduced as a healthier alternative to smoking, it has become the source of an addicting and harmful habit for people who’d never experienced cigarettes in the first place. 

Parents know that it is difficult to stop their teenagers from doing anything. Yet it is the important job of a parent to help guide their teenage children toward choices that will be better for their long-term health. 

How do you reconcile these conflicting facts? It helps to go in prepared. In this article, we look at why vaping is bad for your health and how you can help communicate that to your teenage child in a productive and effective way. 

First, is Vaping Actually Bad?

One of the central premises of vaping is that it removes tobacco from the smoking equation. There isn’t even smoke— just liquid vapor that doesn’t scar your lungs up the same way that combustibles do. In terms of teenage vices, this one doesn’t seem so bad at a glance. 

There are several counterpoints to this argument that warrant further explanation:

  • Long-term health impacts of vaping have yet to be seen: It’s important to understand that, while no significant long-term negative impacts of vaping have been proven, that’s not the same thing as saying that they don’t exist. Vaping has only existed in a mainstream way for about ten years. Smoking cigarettes can take decades before negative health impacts reveal themselves. 
  • Vaping products contain a significant number of chemicals: Of these chemicals, nicotine is the most notable. Nicotine is an addicting aspect of tobacco products. It is responsible for many negative side effects, including irritability, difficulty concentrating, depression, and more. 
  • Vaping products have been associated with a wide variety of respiratory issues: Most notably, popcorn lung, a condition that makes it difficult for the sufferer to draw breath. 
  • There are unregulated vaping materials in circulation that can cause additional health issues: Many a teenager has wound up in the emergency room after vaping something they got from a friend or acquaintance. Unregulated vaping materials can result in significant health consequences with long-term effects. 

It’s also worth noting that vaping is associated with a wide range of negative environmental consequences as well. The vapor has been shown to have a negative effect on the ozone layer, while the batteries have led to habitat destruction, soil damage, and other dangerous forms of pollution. 

The negative impacts of vaping are real. But what is the best way to communicate them to your teenager?

Step 1: Be Candid

It’s important to be transparent about what your concerns are. Start the conversation with as much honesty as possible. Tell your teenager that you are aware of their vaping, and list out your concerns. If you are a cigarette or vape product user yourself, you still have a right to voice your concerns. 

Step 2: Listen to What They Have to Say

Chances are, your child will have their own logic for why they are comfortable vaping. While you may not agree with their logic, it is important to give them the space they need to voice their concerns and opinions. If your child senses that you are being intransigent, they may replicate your behavior, effectively ending the conversation. 

Step 3: Lay Out Clear Expectations

If you want your vaping rules to be taken seriously, you need to lay out your expectations as clearly as possible. Make sure that your child understands what you expect, and what the consequences will be if they fail to meet said expectations. 

Step 4: Be Understanding

Vaping is an addiction. Adults can spend years trying and failing to kick a nicotine habit. It is probably unreasonable to expect your child to manage it on their first try. Depending on the extent of their vaping habit, you may find it appropriate to offer them a weaning-off period. 

The actual terms of said arrangement will likely vary depending on how much they were using their vape before. While it may feel counterintuitive to allow them to continue using their vape at all, keep in mind that your vape ban will be significantly more effective with their cooperation. Meet them halfway, and understand that kicking any addiction is very hard. 

Is it Ever Ok to Vape?

While the various physical and mental health consequences associated with vaping make it inadvisable as a long-term habit, there are certain situations where it may be ok. Remember that vapes were introduced as a way to ween oneself off tobacco products.

If your teenager is trying to use their vape as a way to stop using cigarettes, you may decide that it is an appropriate substitution. However, for the sake of your child’s long-term health, it is best for total abstinence to be the ultimate goal. 

If you are concerned with how vaping has impacted your child’s physical or mental health, it is best to speak with a doctor right away. 

Conclusion

It’s not easy being the parent of a teenager. In a world where underage drinking and cannabis use is a constant threat, it is easy for vaping to fall under the radar. But while vapes may seem mild, the long-term consequences deserve serious consideration. 

Keep your head up. While the journey toward a vape-free life will be challenging, it’s not impossible. Millions of people have kicked their nicotine habit. With patience and guidance, you can help your teenager do the same. 

About Author

LaDonna Dennis

LaDonna Dennis is the founder and creator of Mom Blog Society. She wears many hats. She is a Homemaker*Blogger*Crafter*Reader*Pinner*Friend*Animal Lover* Former writer of Frost Illustrated and, Cancer...SURVIVOR! LaDonna is happily married to the love of her life, the mother of 3 grown children and "Grams" to 3 grandchildren. She adores animals and has four furbabies: Makia ( a German Shepherd, whose mission in life is to be her attached to her hip) and Hachie, (an OCD Alaskan Malamute, and Akia (An Alaskan Malamute) who is just sweet as can be. And Sassy, a four-month-old German Shepherd who has quickly stolen her heart and become the most precious fur baby of all times. Aside from the humans in her life, LaDonna's fur babies are her world.

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