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.
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
If you smoke or vape yourself, you could talk to them about your experiences and how hard it has been to quit. If you are vaping as a way of stopping smoking, talk about how it helps. A good message to convey is that vaping represents a positive step on the path to stopping smoking but is not a good thing to do if you don't already smoke. If your child is smoking, help them quit by seeking advice from a healthcare professional.
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 a vaping advertisement, when you’re hanging out or whenever 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.
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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
Vaping – what you need to know (for teens) Nemours TeensHealth, US