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Teen Vaping – What Parents Need to Know

what if my kid is vaping or juuling

With the recent Monitoring the Future Study release indicating that nearly one in three 12th graders reported using a vaping device in the past year, it’s imperative that parents are informed of the potential dangers that can result from vaping.

What is Vaping?

Vaping is the act of inhaling and exhaling the aerosol, often referred to as vapor, produced by an e-cigarette or similar device.  (Teens refer to it as "JUULing")  It’s become more popular among teens than regular cigarettes, especially given that vaping devices can be used for anything from flavors like mango, mint or tutti frutti, to flavorings containing nicotine or THC, the chemical compound in marijuana that produces the high.

What are the Risks?

There are several risks to vaping for teens. Below are three major ones for parents to be concerned about:

1. Vaping is often marketed to kids, downplaying the dangers.

With lots of flavors available for vaping liquids, as well as the variety of colors and devices available that charge just like cell phones, it’s clear that vaping products are often marketed to teens. One of the slang terms for vaping, known as JUULing (“jeweling”), comes from the JUUL brand device that looks more like a flash drive as opposed to an e-cigarette. Vaping is also often sold as a “safer” alternative to cigarettes, and some teens are under the false assumption that because e-cigarettes don’t contain tobacco they’re safe.

2. Vaping chemicals used in the liquids can be more concentrated and dangerous.

Inhaling from a vape pen or e-cigarette, especially in the case of one containing nicotine or THC, can enhance a drug user’s high and can amplify a drug’s side effects. Vaping is also very new and there are literally hundreds of brands, so there’s not a lot of firm information about what chemicals might be in what vape liquids. But even beyond nicotine and THC, synthetic chemicals that make up these liquids – including “herbal incense” like spice and synthetic marijuana – expose the lungs to a variety of chemicals, which could include carcinogens and toxic metal nanoparticles from the device itself. Not only could these chemicals make their way into young lungs, causing irritation and potentially “smoker’s cough,” but they could also damage the inside of the mouth and create sores.

3. Vaping may make the transition to cigarette smoking easier in adolescence.

In a meta analysis of six studies, the findings concluded that the risk of smoking increases four times if a teen vapes versus a teen that does not. In another study of more than 2,000 10th graders, researchers found that one in five teens who reported a regular vaping habit at the start of the study smoked traditional cigarettes at least three times a month by the end of the study period. Another 12% of routine vapers smoked at least one day a month. By comparison, less than 1% of students who didn’t try vaping reported smoking even one day a month at the end of the study.

What Can Parents Do?

Make it clear to your son or daughter that you don’t approve of them vaping or using e-cigarettes, no matter what.

If you think your son or daughter is vaping, take a deep breath and set yourself up for success by creating a safe, open and comfortable space to start talking with your son or daughter. As angry or frustrated as you feel, keep reminding yourself to speak and listen from a place of love, support and concern. Explain to them that young people who use THC or nicotine products in any form, including e-cigarettes or vaporizers, are uniquely at risk for long-lasting effects. Because these substances affect the development of the brain’s reward system, continued use can lead to addiction (the likelihood of addiction increases considerably for those who start young), as well as other health problems.

You want your child to be as healthy as possible. Find out why vaping might be attractive to your son or daughter, and work with him or her to replace it with a healthier behavior.


**  What's the Government Doing to Protect Your Teen from Vaping?  Read Here


Teens and Hobbies:  What Teens get from Extracurricular Activities

Sport, drama, Scouts, hobbies like craft or photography – extracurricular activities can be just about anything your child enjoys outside school. They can also be things you’ve encouraged your child to do, like language classes, music, debating, religious instruction, swimming, or paid and unpaid jobs.

Taking part in extracurricular activities can:

  • give your child a chance to try a range of activities, explore where her strengths lie and find out what she’s good at
  • give your child a sense of achievement and boost her self-esteem and confidence
  • help your child avoid risk-taking behavior by getting her involved in healthy, positive things like sport or community activity
  • promote good mental health
  • help your teen learn responsibility and develop her skills in planning and taking initiative
  • help your child learn to overcome tough times, which in turn can help your child succeed academically.

Encouraging your Teen to try Extracurricular Activities

Not all teenagers are into extracurricular activities. That’s fine. But sometimes teenagers want to try something new and just need a bit of help to get started. If this sounds like your child, you can encourage him to take part in extracurricular activities by providing opportunities and practical help.

If you feel your child hasn’t considered all the extracurricular activities available, talking with her can help you work out what she might be interested in. You could also ask your child’s school what clubs and societies it has.

Your child might need your help to ease into a new group of people. After all, it can be hard to turn up somewhere, not knowing anyone and wondering whether you’ll fit in. Perhaps your child has a friend who’d like to do the activity with him. 

Your child could also start an activity gradually. For example, if your child’s ultimate goal is to be on the stage with a local theatre group, she could start by working as a stage hand.

It’s OK if your child doesn’t do many, or any, extracurricular activities. He might prefer his own company or solo interests, or he might feel that school offers him all the stimulation or opportunity he wants. Extracurricular activities are voluntary.  

Finding the right balance  

Balancing work and fun is a challenge for everyone – it’s a grown-up skill that’s important for your child to learn.

If you’re worried that your child has taken on too many extracurricular activities, there are some signs that can show things are out of balance for her. These might include her being tired, grumpy or stressed and having trouble sleeping.

To find balance you could have a look at these things:

  • Time away from home: how many nights does your child come home after 8.30 or 9 pm? What time on the weekends is he ‘out’? 
  • Balance of activities: how much sleep is your child getting? Does she have any down time? Can she get her homework done on time? Does she have time for friends? 
  • Behavior: does your child seem happy? Is he irritable? Does he seem stressed a lot of the time?
  • Impact on the family: how many family meals are missed, or disrupted, by your child’s activities? Is this a problem for your family? 

Everyone’s different, and different children can balance different amounts of extracurricular activity. This changes with age too. What your child can handle when he’s 9 will be different from what he can do at 12.

Check out this article on the value of hobbies and how you can help foster a hobby in your teen!

And more...
Drug Take Back Day  Oct 27, 2018
The National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is a day everyone to do his or her part to fight the opioid crisis - simply by disposing of unwanted prescription medications from their medicine cabinets.  So, take a moment to clear that medicine cabinet and rid your home of expired or unused medication.  Thanks for helping keep our communities safe. 

Here in NK, you can drop your meds off at the Police at Station 8166 Post Rd.  You can use this box 24/7.  THANKS for doing your part to help address the opioid crisis!


Children of parents who talk to their teens regularly about drugs are 42% less likely to use drugs than those who don't, yet only a quarter of teens report having these conversations.

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North Kingstown Prevention Coalition · 300 Centerville Road · Warwick, Ri 02886 · USA

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