How to talk to your teen about the dangers of vaping

teen talk dangers of vaping

Often touted as a “safe” alternative to smoking regular cigarettes, e-cigarettes and vaping have exploded onto the scene in the past few years but the dangers of vaping are becoming more clear. Although intended for adults, teenagers everywhere are trying vaping. Exciting flavors and exotic smoke-tricks have made e-cigarettes an exciting new thing for teens and young adults. Unfortunately, vaping isn’t as safe as a lot of teens assume. E-cigarettes contain chemicals and harmful ingredients that can impact your body negatively. Not only that, many e-cigarettes contain nicotine or even marijuana. This can make vaping addictive and dangerous for teenagers with developing bodies. As a parent, you know vaping probably isn’t the best choice for your teen. But, talking to your child about that choice can be difficult. Let’s talk about some ideas for talking to your teen about the dangers of vaping.

Listen to what your teen has to say

It’s natural to want to lecture your child or tell them what they need to do to be healthy and happy. But, coming on strong without listening to what your teen has to say is a great way to shut down the conversation. Your child won’t listen to you if you don’t listen to them. Let it be a conversation of communication back and forth. Take time to ask them what they think about vaping. Let them talk about friends or peers who might be using e-cigarettes without inserting your thoughts immediately. Listen to what they have to say.

Be prepared with information

Your teen would never admit it, but they don’t know everything. Even if they’re interested in vaping, your child probably doesn’t know all the facts. Learn everything you can about vaping. Make sure you study up and can teach your child about the dangers of vaping.

Spread out the conversation

It’s tempting to have a conversation about vaping once, and be done. But it’s a conversation your child needs you to have with them again and again. It shouldn’t be a long informational lecture every time. Use everyday situations to talk about it with your teen. If you see someone vaping in the park, use it as a talking point. When you and your teen see ads or movies that show someone using an e-cigarette, talk about it. If you use every situation you can to talk about vaping, it spreads out the conversation and reinforces the information you’re trying to share with your teen.

Keep questions open-ended

Yes and no questions are the death of any good conversation. Instead, think of open-ended questions you can ask your teen. For example, “Your friend Becky vapes, what do you think about that?” Your child might take that as an easy way to tell you they don’t mind the smell of vaping, but they don’t know if they want to do it or not. Open-ended questions will give you a real idea about what your child thinks.

Role model the behavior you expect

It’s not fair to expect your kids to do something you’re unwilling to do yourself. If you use e-cigarettes, it’s a lot more likely that your child will use e-cigarettes too. Work on quitting. Model the behavior you expect from your child. Talk to your doctor about quitting if you need help.

Set clear expectations

You can’t always control your child. Even if you outline the dangers of vaping, your teen might still choose to use e-cigarettes. But you can let your child know what you expect, and the consequences they can expect if they choose not to follow those expectations.