While cigarette smoking among youth has declined, the use of other tobacco products, including e-cigarettes has increased. In their efforts to eventually hook kids on tobacco, the tobacco and vaping industries target young people by using three primary tactics – making products sweet, cheap, and easy to get.
Talk with Your Kids. Talking with your kids about vaping is one of the most important things you can do. Below are tips to help you prepare for and start the conversation.
- Be patient and ready to listen. Your goal is to have a conversation, not to deliver a lecture. So avoid criticism and encourage an open dialogue.
- There is no “perfect time” to talk. Driving in the car together or waiting at an appointment is often the best time. You can start by mentioning a news story, a TV show, or something that you heard about vaping. Or ask your child what he or she thinks about a situation you witness together such as seeing someone use an e-cigarette, passing a vape shop when you are out, or seeing an e-cigarette advertisement.
- There is no “perfect talk.” Consider your talks with your child about vaping as a learning opportunity for both of you, and perhaps just the beginning of an ongoing dialogue. You may have some facts about vaping at hand, but concede that you don’t know all the answers. It will go a long way to keep your kids from going on the defensive.
- Ask what your child thinks. Show some genuine curiosity. Ask your child, “What’s your take on vaping?” or “Do you know kids who use e-cigarettes?”
- Be open and honest. Be truthful about what you know about the dangers of vaping, and what you don’t. You can honestly say, though, “Vaping isn’t harmless. I hope you can steer clear of it.”
You can’t always control everything your children do when they’re not with you. Talking with your kids about vaping will let them know that you’re concerned about their health.
The information and resources shared in this article are from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health at http://makesmokinghistory.org/. You can also find helpful resources, from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, at https://resisttobacco.org/.
By: Nora Rhoades