The Conversation You Thought You Didn’t Have to Have
Sure, we’ve all heard about vaping. But until recently, most people were unaware that it has become a major health epidemic. The tragic news about the new pulmonary disease and vaping-related deaths is helping people understand the conditions and factors that created the epidemic. And now parents have an opportunity to stop it in its tracks.
As with all health and wellness issues, educating kids begins at home. You can help your child choose not to vape by keeping open lines of communication and sharing information about addictive e-cigarettes into regular conversations as you do about other healthy habits and family values.
To get started, visit Talk. They Hear You, a substance use prevention website by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The materials are written about alcohol but may be adapted for a variety of substances. Or try the Surgeon General’s Tip sheet for Parents (in Spanish). Concerned that your child is already vaping? Read What to Watch For: Six Signs Your Teen is Vaping and When You Discover Your Son or Daughter is Using Drugs: Start Talking.
Elementary parents: Your voices are especially important! Prevention is best taught at an early age. Short, frequent discussions have a lasting impact on your child’s choices and help prepare them for life in middle school.
- Learn what e-cigarettes look like (they are easily disguised), and how they harm young bodies and brains.
- Ask your child if s/he’s heard of vaping. Elementary-age kids learn about vaping through ads in video games and social media and the playground grapevine. Children in this age group who try vaping obtain e-cigarettes from older siblings, other kids at school or in the neighborhood, and online purchases.
- Share the facts and equip your child to make informed healthy choices.
Middle and high school parents: These are the ages of most frequent use and addiction, and it is easy for kids to get and share vaping products. At this age you may have a child who is already addicted and needs help.
- Ask your child what they know about vaping at their school. See Speak Now Here’s How.
- Share ways to get help (your child might not need it but they might share this information with their friends). Students can speak confidentially with the school nurse to learn about resources to quit (they can ask the health aid to connect them to the nurse who oversees the health room). You can talk with your child’s pediatrician about options. As kids this age grow in their independence, they like to make their own decisions. Equip them with the facts.
- Contact your pyramid’s Substance Abuse Prevention Specialist for support and referral (your school office can connect you).
- Ask your principal about restricting cell phones in the classroom. Kids who want to vape or buy e-cigarrettes at school use social media and texts to learn which bathroom to visit.
Additional Resources For Students
Additional Resources For Parents
Vaping Facts: https://www.thetruth.com/categories/vaping/fact