For the last ten years, e-cigarettes and vapes have been the most popular tobacco product among middle and high-school students. Despite the publicized health risks of vaping, it continues to be the favored method of tobacco use amongst younger demographics. If you’re worried about your child vaping, keep reading to learn about the risks, things to keep an eye on, and ways to help.
Vaping: The Risks
E-cigarettes and vapes were introduced to the market as a safer alternative to smoking. The idea being that vaping involves inhaling aerosolized liquid containing nicotine instead of the harsh and dangerous smoke from cigarettes. While vaping is considered to be less dangerous than traditional smoking, it is by no means safe. Research has shown vaping to be detrimental to the lungs and heart and to be as addictive, if not more so, than traditional cigarettes. While the younger generation isn’t smoking as many cigarettes as their predecessors, vaping is creating a whole new class of nicotine addiction.
Nicotine addiction can manifest itself in sudden mood swings, increased irritability, and changes in social activities. Teens experimenting with vaping may change their friend group, isolate from family or suddenly experience a decline in academic performance or participation in outside activities. If you notice any of these shifts in your kids behavior, it may be a sign of a vape addiction. If you are concerned, open communication is key. Coming from a place of understanding and care will go a lot further than punishment or anger.
Vaping has been linked to increased rates of asthma and COPD. While your child may not be inhaling smoke, they are still inhaling harmful chemicals that irritate the mouth, nose and throat. Noticeable effects of vaping can be increased coughing, shortness of breath, or persistent throat irritation. Unexplainable nosebleeds, chronic dehydration, and changes in the ability to taste or smell can also be indicative of vape addiction. Talk with your child about your concerns for their health and consult a doctor if problems persist.
Vaping Devices & Accessories
Keep an eye out for vaping devices or vape accessories in your kids room or left around the house. Vapes come in a seemingly endless variety of shapes and sizes. They can look like a usb drive, highlighters, pens, or any other everyday object. Be on the lookout for unfamiliar devices, small cartridges, or chargers. A tell tale sign of vaping is the presence of sweet-smelling odors in the air. Flavored vape liquid is extremely popular and produces a distinctive scent when exhaled. It should be noted that it’s important to pay attention to your kids without violating their privacy. While it can be tempting to go through their belongings, this personal invasion can result in a lack of trust and unwillingness to confide in you in the future.
Talking About It
Education is key when addressing the issue of vaping with your teenager. Stay informed about the dangers of vaping and share your concerns and research with them. Discuss the potential health risks, including lung damage, addiction, and the unknown long-term effects of vaping. Cultivate open lines of communication and create an environment where your kid feels comfortable talking about vaping without fear of judgment or punishment. At the end of the day we just want our kids to be safe and happy.
For more information on vaping addiction or other adolescent behavioral health issues, call Sustain Recovery today. Our licensed and experienced clinical team can answer any questions and provide resources to get your child back on track.