The number of people vaping is on the rise as more and more products are coming onto the market that appeal to younger people.
While vaping can help some people quit smoking, vaping usually contains unregulated chemicals and flavours whose long-term effects are unknown. It can contain nicotine which is highly addictive. In kids and teens it can slow brain development and affect memory, concentration, learning, self-control, attention, and mood.
There is growing evidence to show vaping is not free of harm. Breathing any product into the lungs unnecessarily is not ideal, and that’s why non-smokers should not vape.
Here are our tips to talk to your kids about vaping and the potential dangers:
Be a good role model
It may be stating the obvious but if you don’t want your child to vape then be a good role model for them and ensure you aren’t vaping or smoking yourself.
Provide the facts
Many kids may simply not know the potential harm from vaping – they may think it’s safe. Empower them with the facts so help them learn the health facts and the legal facts. You could also take this quiz on vaping myths together.
You may not know much or anything about vaping and that's okay. In the learn more section below there are some websites that can help you learn about vaping.
Start conversations early
It’s never too early to talk with your child about vaping. Start up a conversation at dinner, in the car, when you are passing an vaping advertisement, when you’re hanging out or when the opportunity arises.
If your teen is vaping, try to understand why they are vaping by asking questions like “What do you enjoy about vaping?” Or “How does vaping make you feel?” Understanding this might help you to understand their needs and discuss other ways to meet those needs.
Image credit: Canva
Keep communication lines open
If you want to keep communication lines open, you need to be available to talk, listen and offer advice in a non-confrontational way. Make sure you listen to your teens and don’t be too judgmental.
Teach them it’s OK to say no
It’s always good to remind kids that it’s OK to say ‘no’. They don’t have to do something if they don’t want to and they don’t have to give in to peer pressure. The conversation about saying no to vaping is a good opportunity to extend it to other topics like drugs and alcohol.
If you have any concerns about your child vaping, contact your local healthcare provider or GP.
Vaping facts Te Hiringa Hauora & Ministry of Health, NZ
How to talk to young people about vaping Te Hiringa Hauora, NZ
Useful Questions to ask sad/worried/mad kids and teens Developing Minds, NZ
Youth19 Vaping fact sheet NZ
Using e-cigarettes to stop smoking NHS, UK