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Learning About How to Talk With Your Child or Teen About Vaping

Assorted vaping devices

What is vaping?

Vaping is using a device to inhale vapour that may contain nicotine, flavourings, or chemicals from cannabis. The devices may also be called electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes. They may look like pens or flash drives.

Why does it appeal to children and teens?

Vapes are a common product used by children and teens. Many children and teens think vaping is cool. Vaping devices are easy to hide from adults and easy to use.

What are the safety concerns?

These are some things to consider about vaping.

It can cause a deadly lung injury.
The "vapour" made by vaping contains harmful chemicals. There have been cases of lung disease and death related to vaping. Many of these may be from vaping products with THC (a chemical in cannabis [marijuana]) or other additives. THC changes how you think, act, and feel and can make you feel "high". The exact cause of lung damage is not known.
Vaping products often have nicotine.
Nicotine is addictive. It can be hard to stop using it. Nicotine can be harmful to developing brains, such as in fetuses, children, and young adults. Liquid nicotine can be poisonous if swallowed or spilled on skin. Keep it out of children's reach.
Vaping can expose those around you to second-hand aerosol.
There is a concern about possible health risks from second-hand aerosol exposure.
Vaping devices can catch fire or explode.
Vaping devices can explode. This can cause burns or injuries.

How can you talk with your child or teen about vaping?

Starting to talk with your child about vaping can be as simple as asking, "What do kids at school say about vaping?" These tips can help you have a healthy, open, and ongoing discussion with your child.

  • Find the right time and place to talk.

    Talk when everyone is calm. You'll both be more willing to be open and honest.

  • Have a chat, not a lecture.

    Instead of saying "we need to talk," find ways to have a casual conversation. You want your child to feel comfortable being honest with you. Ask questions like:

    • What do you think about vaping?
    • What have you heard about vaping?
    • Do kids vape at your school?

    Listen to your child's answers, and don't get mad at what you might hear.

  • Help them sort through the information they get.

    Teens hear a lot about vaping. They may hear about it from friends or see ads on TV or online. What they hear isn't always right. Ask them what they've heard. Then share what you've learned.

  • Focus on the short-term effects of vaping.

    You may care about the long-term risks. But kids are often more interested in the short-term stuff. Talk with them about things they care about right now. You might say:

    • "Nicotine is addicting. You may think you can stop whenever you choose. But because your body is used to the nicotine, it can be hard to stop."
    • "Nicotine is especially harmful to developing brains like yours."
    • "Vaping may make it harder to breathe. You might have trouble playing your sport or instrument."
    • "Some teens have gotten a deadly lung injury from vaping."
    • "Vaping devices can catch fire or explode, which could burn or hurt you."
    • "Vaping costs a lot of money. It may seem small, but costs add up. The more you vape, the more you spend."
    • "Big companies are trying to get you hooked. They want you as a lifetime customer. How do you feel about that?"

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