Vaping and parenting: How to know if your kids are vaping
Q: Is it possible to tell if someone is vaping? Are there signs of vaping?
A: There are clues parents can look for to see if an adolescent might be using vape products.
Vaping dries out mucus membranes - the mouth, throat and nose. When the mouth is dry, it makes certain flavors harder to enjoy.
Craving more salt or spice could be a sign of a drier mouth, which could be caused from vaping.
That in combination with having nosebleeds from a drier nose can also be a clue into vaping. Those are things to look for, but it's hard to know for sure.
Q: How can I tell if my child is sick from vaping?
A: Vaping turns off the immune system in the lungs and makes it harder to clean them up.
Having more lung infections could be a sign of vaping-related sickness.
Additionally, combining nicotine with caffeine can increase anxiety, and could be a sign of vaping-related side effects.
Q: How are kids buying vapes?
A: The federal minimum age to purchase e-cigarette products is 18, but the laws vary by state – 49 states have set a minimum age that is older than 18.
Unfortunately, the majority of underage vaping users are still getting the products from local gas stations or areas in their community that sell the products.
Some may also be getting them from friends and family members.
Q: How can I talk to my child about vaping?
A: The best parenting is role model behavior that shows a nicotine- or tobacco-free house.
Having open and honest conversations with youth about the dangers of smoking as well as vaping is always a good start.
Scheduling an appointment to meet with their care provider or with a pediatrician at UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital is a good first step as well.
Q: Is it safe to vape around children?
A: The answer is no. The same chemicals a person breathes into their body through vaping devices are then breathed out to anyone around them.
There is secondhand damage that can happen from vaping just like with cigarettes.
Q: If I'm a parent or patient, why should I care?
A: Even though we don't know the long-term effects of vaping, we do know the effects of nicotine.
Nicotine is a highly addictive substance, and adolescents are even more susceptible to those addictive patterns.
Using nicotine turns on the pleasure systems in our brain that make us feel good, but long-term repetitive use of that depletes those reward systems.
We start having irritability, anger, and anxiety between uses. Then we're forced to use vaping to feel normal.
No one should ever have to be reliant on a substance to be able to feel normal and function. The best thing is to avoid nicotine whenever possible.