Vaping devices, known as “e-cigarettes” or “vapes”, can pose serious health risks and are the most common nicotine product used by youth.
In 2021, use of e-cigarettes among Cowlitz County 10th graders was about 40% higher than the state average. According to Healthy Youth Survey data for Cowlitz County, 11% of surveyed 10th graders had vaped within the past month.
Two-thirds of 8th graders, and just over half of 10th graders, in Cowlitz County who said they vaped usually got e-cigarettes by giving money to someone, borrowing or sharing from an adult or taking from a store or family member.
If you are thinking about talking with your teen about the risks of vaping, consider these tips:
1. Educate yourself.
While less harmful than other tobacco products like cigarettes, e-cigarettes aren’t harmless.
E-cigarettes produce an aerosol that usually contains nicotine and flavorings. It may also contain other additives, such as heavy metals like lead, volatile organic compounds and cancer-causing agents.
Exposure to nicotine at a young age can damage parts of the brain that control attention, learning, mood and impulse control. Youth who vape may be more likely to smoke cigarettes later in life.
In a national survey, most youth said they tried e-cigarettes because they had a friend who used them. Those who continued vaping said they used e-cigarettes to deal with stress, anxiety or depression.
→ Find more facts about e-cigarettes from the CDC here: https://bit.ly/2MsPy52.
2. Set an example.
If you use tobacco products, it’s not too late to quit. Free help is available online smokefree.gov and by phone 1-800-QUIT-NOW.
3. Be open to talk.
Set aside time to talk with your teen about e-cigarettes.
It’s important to remain calm and avoid judgement. Provide the facts and do your best to listen and answer their questions. Rather than having one conversation about e-cigarettes, let this be the first of many to come.
Try open-ended questions, such as “What do you think about vaping?” or “Do you know what is in vapes?” to get the conversation started.
→ Find more question and answer ideas from the American Lung Association here: https://bit.ly/3OwJap7.
4. Ask for help.
If you can’t answer all of your teen’s questions, or if you need support getting your message across, that’s OK!
Consider asking for help from your teen’s health care provider or a trusted adult, such as a relative, teacher or counselor. They can draw from their own knowledge to share more about the risks of e-cigarettes.
5. Access resources.
Several resources are available for teens and parents. Try these options:
• Live Vape Free: a program that provides tips, tools and support for those wanting to talk with teens about vaping.
• This is Quitting: text-to-quit vaping program for people ages 13-24. Text VAPEFREEWA to 88709 to sign up.
• Know the Risks: a website based on a U.S. Surgeon General report that offers a tip sheet, videos and fact sheets.