Vaping is one of the latest issues, in an already long list of issues parents have to worry about. We feel increasingly powerless over this one since it is so hard to know if your teen is vaping and certainly because it is much more available to teens than it should be. Teens are vaping in large numbers as it becomes the “cool thing to do,” and 1 in 11 teenagers have used marijuana in electronic cigarettes!! Unfortunately, sales have exploded in recent years, with vaping stores popping up all over. Now kids can easily purchase e-cigarettes at over 1,300 retailers nationwide.
“According to the FDA, e-cigarettes have become the most common tobacco product used by teens in the past two years. More than 2 million middle-school and high-school students used e-cigarettes in 2017.”
What many kids don’t understand is the dangerous levels of nicotine they are inhaling, and they certainly don’t have the common sense to understand the effects it will have on their health since “smokers of e-cigarettes like Juuls were found to have the same cancer-causing chemicals present in their bodies as smokers of traditional cigarettes, no matter the nicotine content” says Fortune magazine.
But wait, there is GOOD NEWS finally!
The *FDA is taking strong action on this by cracking down on the companies and manufacturers who are “perpetuating youth access to e-cigarettes” by not only selling these products illegally to minors, but how they are marketing kid-friendly liquid flavors and misleading kids into thinking the product is appropriate and safe for them to use.
For the first time, the agency will take the message that vaping is dangerous into high school bathrooms and social media feeds of those at-risk youth to stop what the FDA calls an epidemic of e-cigarette use by minors.
Finally something is being done to crack down on this epidemic and at the same time parents need to be proactive.
You may be wondering, “What can parents do to stop this growing epidemic among our tweens and teens?”
Here are a few ideas to help:
Parents can have ongoing conversations with our kids about vaping and educate our tweens and teens about the damaging and dangerous effects it can have on their health.
Parents can talk to their kids about the specific health risks that come with vaping and clarify all the misleading information that many currently believe.
Parents can remind their kids that this “Cool thing to do” right now, will lead to nicotine addiction that can cause health problems for the rest of their lives.
Parents can help their kids plan a strategy to prevent them from accepting invitations to vape from friends, so they will be prepared when faced with the decision.
Parents can encourage their kids by expressing confidence in believing they will do the right thing when it comes to staying away from any drug or alcohol use.
Parents can develop a trusting and open relationship with their tween or teen that will allow for important dialogue on difficult issues without judgment.
Parents can continue to educate their kids on new research and developing news, so they are aware of and fully understand current and accurate information when it comes to vaping or any drug and alcohol use.
Above all, parents must be vigilant in monitoring what their kids are doing so that they can intervene if they discover any vaping activity. Parents can’t turn a blind eye to their teen’s behavior. Instead, parents must be invested in their kids’ lives and pay close attention to their needs, their moods, their whereabouts, and their behavior that can be signaling that they need our help.
Parents need to remember their tweens and teens are just kids, not yet fully developed into responsible and reliable adults. It’s our job to teach them how to make healthy decisions in a peer-pressured world that directs kids to do otherwise. It’s up to parents to walk alongside their kids and help to prevent them from making poor decisions as they navigate this treacherous terrain.