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Talking with Your Teen about Vaping


As teens grow and become more independent, they face enormous peer pressure. In 2018, 37% of 12th graders reported vaping, according to the National Institutes of Health. With vaping on the rise, parents and educators should be informed about the risks—to help young people develop healthy coping skills and resist social pressures.

What is Vaping?

Vaping involves inhaling vapor from an electronic device. These “e-cigarettes” heat a liquid into an aerosol often containing nicotine, marijuana and harmful chemicals. Common terms include “e-cigs,” “mods,” “nic sticks,” and “vape pens.” Teens might also refer to them by their brand names.

Why Do Teens Vape?

Teens vape due to peer pressure and the appeal of flavored liquids. Vaping devices are discreet, resembling USB drives, making them easy to use in schools and homes.

Vaping Risks

Contrary to what some may think, vaping is harmful. Nicotine in vaping liquids is highly addictive, can impact brain development and often leads to other substance use. It can affect attention, learning, mood and impulse control, while withdrawal can lead to irritability, restlessness and concentration problems.

Recognize the Signs

E-cigarettes often look like pens or flash drives. In addition to looking for vaping equipment, pay attention to the following:

  • Unidentifiable scent of flavoring
  • Teen’s increased thirst
  • Teen’s increased nosebleeds
  • Teen’s decreased caffeine consumption

Tips for Talking with Your Teen

  • Check in regularly.
  • Look for opportunities to talk during downtime.
  • Be clear about your expectations on vaping and other substances.
  • Participate in extracurricular activities together.
  • Let your teen know that you care and are available to them.

Help Them Plan

Create an “exit plan” for situations in which your teen is offered e-cigarettes. Practice the plan with them. This can empower them to make good choices. A strong, open relationship with a parent or caregiver can make a huge impact on the life of a teen.

Get Help

If you believe your teen is struggling with addiction to vaping or other substances, take action now. Reach out to LifeSkills’ Youth Treatment Coordinator by calling 270-901-5612.


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