Vapes industries compare their products to other nicotine products, trying to promote the benefits of vaping. However, there is no long-term data to prove comparisons to cigarettes, for example. Dr. Hartman states, “Nicotine affects the wiring of the brain. In this case, vaping is not safe until age 25 brain development wise. It is not safe for teenage brain.” The variety of vape flavors and packaging are targeting younger audiences. Dr. Hertman claims that vaping has increased sales within the COVID-19 pandemic.“Teenagers are bored and they don’t have anything to do, so this is a way to stimulate themselves.”
Signs to notice that teens might be vape:
· Personality changes
· Mood/socialization changes
· Consistent sore throat
· Going into room/bathroom more than normal
· Shortness of breath
· Noticing an unexplained sweet scent
· Weight loss
· Sleep disturbance
We answered common questions on teen vaping:
Q: How can I talk to my child about vaping?
A: Having an open and honest conversation about the dangers of vaping. Don’t strongly lecture your child on not vaping; that may make them resistant toward you. Make your teen feel that they can trust you and you are not shaming them. This is not a good kid/bad kid issue; it can happen to anyone. Let them know they are supported, and you are here to help them stop the addiction. Instead of asking yes or no questions, ask open-ended questions that encourage participation in the conversation.
Here is a list of conversation starters:
1. Are a lot of your friends or classmates vaping at school?
2. What are your thoughts on vaping?
3. Do you know the side effects of vaping?
4. Do you know what is in vape pods?
Scheduling an appointment to meet their pediatrician is a good step too.
Q: How can I tell if my child is sick from vaping?
A: Vaping causes more lung infections and lowers the immune system. If your child has numerous sore throats or coughing, this could be a sign of vaping-related side effects. Additionally, noticing increased anxiety levels could be a sign.
Q: How is it possible to tell if my child is vaping?
A: While not every sign of vaping may actually be that your child is vaping, there are clues you can look for to see if your child may be using vape products. Vaping dries out mucus membranes – the mouth, throat, and nose. When the mouth is dry, it makes certain flavors harder to enjoy. Craving more salt or spice could be a sign of a drier mouth, which could be caused by vaping.
Also, having nosebleeds from a drier nose can also be a clue into vaping. Those are things to look for, but it's hard to know for sure.
If your child is vaping, your support is crucial. Parents and other trusted adults have an important role in helping youth make good health choices. The best parenting is role model behavior that shows a nicotine- or tobacco-free house.
For more information on the truth about teen vaping, checkout our “WellnessPodcast.”