Vaping –or the use of e-cigarettes– is a dangerous trend that has been rising in popularity among youth. In fact, a 2019 report by the Center for Disease Control shows that the number of middle and high school students using e-cigarettes rose from 3.6 million in 2018 to a whopping 5.3 million in 2019.
6 Warning Signs To Look Out For
As a parent, here are a few warning signs that might indicate that your child has been vaping:
1) Unfamiliar tech-looking devices
E-cigarette devices contain parts and cartridges that need to be exchanged and replaced. These parts may appear to look like USB drives or battery chargers.
2) Pleasant smell
What can make vaping more appealing to youth than traditional cigarettes are the sweet flavors available. If you catch faint aromas of bubble gum or watermelon, it might be a sign that someone is vaping nearby.
3) Increased secrecy and mood behaviours
Mood changes and feelings of irritability and anxiety may be signs of nicotine withdrawal. If you notice your child acting more irritable than usual, as well as being secretive and unwilling to answer questions, it may be another sign that your child has been vaping.
4) Increased thirst or nose bleeds
Vaping removes hydration from the skin of the mouth and throat, leaving a dry, flat palate. If you see your child increasing their liquid consumption (and urinating more), this may be a sign of vaping. Similarly to how it dries the mouth, vaping also dries the skin of the nose too. When the nose is too dry, it can bleed, which might be another clue.
5) Decreased caffeine use
The combination of vaping nicotine and drinking caffeine can cause anxiety and severe mood swings. Many vape users will decrease their caffeine intake to avoid these side effects.
6) Unfamiliar online purchases or packages
Vapes and e-juices are available for purchase online, so if there are unfamiliar charges on a card or odd-looking packages coming to your home, it’s time to ask questions.
It’s important to note that while these may be indicators of vaping, they aren’t sure-fire indicators that your child has been using an e-cigarette. That’s why it’s important not to jump to conclusions, but rather to approach a conversation with your child with an open mind.
Here are some quick tips for discussing vaping with your child:
- Start the conversation sooner than later– The discussion on vaping with your child will likely be ongoing so start the dialogue early on
- Avoid criticism and encourage your child to be open with you– Listen to your child to understand their perspective things and invite them to ask questions
- Help them understand why vaping is harmful– Use facts to stress the seriousness of vaping
- Teach them to say no– Identify possible scenarios where your child may be offered e-cigarettes, then help them practice how to respond
At Parent Up, it’s our mission to equip parents with online tools and resources to help prevent substance abuse of any kind by youth.
The talking tips listed above can also be applied to other conversations with your child to prevent underage use of other harmful substances such as alcohol, marijuana or other drugs.
For more stats, information, and advice on vaping, visit our Vaping page.