As the number of children and teens who vape rises, the government has started to take notice. But even though information is coming out about the dangers and health risks of vaping, it’s your job as a parent to make sure your child understands those dangers and risks.
Here are a few tips to make sure you have a productive conversation. Try to have these conversations frequently and, if you can, before they try vaping.
Start in middle school if you can.
“The best time to bring up the subject is when your child is about twelve,” says Seth Ammerman, MD, FAAP, FSAHM, DABAM, a pediatrician in San Francisco with Hill Physicians Medical Group. “It’s better to do it sooner rather than later because kids are going to learn about vaping from their peers.”
Educate yourself on the subject.
If you don’t feel prepared to have the conversation, make sure you know the basics. Research vapes and e-cigarettes, including the proper terminology, how they work and why they are dangerous.
Strike up a natural conversation.
While the topic is serious, your conversation can start more casually. For example, when you pass a person vaping on the street, ask a question such as “What do you think of vaping?” or “Do any of your friends vape?”
Be honest and objective.
“If you are rigid or judgmental during the conversation, your kids are not likely to respond well. Be more objective and point out the risks and adverse effects,” says Ammerman. This is where the research from #2 plays an important role — you can’t explain what you don’t know.
Ask your child’s doctor for help.
If you are still nervous about having this conversation with your child, or it hasn’t gone well in the past, you can get help. Ammerman says, “Ask your child’s pediatrician or your family’s doctor to bring up the subject and break the ice. They are trained on how to have these conversations and can help guide you.”
Related articles and resources
Understanding E-Cigarettes and Vaping
Secondhand Smoke and Secondhand Vaping: Both Bad for Kids
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