Start a Conversation With Your Child About Vaping

Believe it or not, children and teens listen to their parents. In fact, studies have shown that when parents talk to their children and express a strong disapproval about vaping, they are less likely to try it. Read our conversation guide for tips and facts to help you start this important conversation with your child.

Best Practices & Guidelines

Before Starting the Conversation

It may seem obvious, but before sitting down with your child or teen to discuss the dangers of vaping, you should take time to do some research. There's a lot of misinformation out there, so make sure you visit trustworthy websites to find accurate information to start a constructive conversation.

Here are a few facts to get you started:

1 in 5 Utah high schoolers use e-cigarettes.

Despite what's written on the vape product packaging, a study showed 99% of e-cigarettes contain nicotine.

Nicotine harms the developing brain and puts youth at increased risk for addiction to other drugs.

Nicotine use in adolescence can affect attention, learning, mood and impulse control.

The e-cigarette aerosol that users breathe from the device contains harmful substances.

Starting the Conversation

Believe it or not, children and teens listen to their parents. In fact, studies have shown that when parents talk to their children and express a strong disapproval about vaping, they are less likely to try it. Just remember — you can make a difference.

When it comes to proper communication, remember these three simple rules:

Choose a time

when there is no upcoming activity and you and your child aren't thinking about doing something else.

Choose a place

to talk that is free of distractions and interruptions.

Convey trust.

Let your child know that you always have their best interest at heart.

Tips for Talking

Stay calm, be direct, and approach the conversation with love.

Approach the conversation with a non-shaming and nonjudgmental attitude. Take a sincere, loving approach.

"Miguel, there is something I want to talk about with you that has been on my mind lately. Is now a good time to talk?"

Go for some “milkshake therapy.”

Go take some one-on-one time when your child feels like they can talk safely and openly. Going for a treat gives you a destination and something to do without a lot of distractions.

“So, I was thinking we'd go grab a milkshake tonight and catch up. What do you say?”

Ask them how they're doing and really listen.

Are they stressed? Feeling lonely? Knowing how they're feeling will help you understand where they're coming from. This serves two purposes: It works as a conversation starter, and it helps to build a connection.

“How was your day, honey? Things must be tressful at school right now.”

Tell them about what you learned.

Share what stood out to you during your research. Letting your child know that this is also new to you will help them feel like you're not talking down to them.

“I learned something really interesting today about vaping I wanted to share with you.”

Ask them, “Have you ever considered this to be a problem?”

This could be with themselves, their friends, or their school. This helps you understand their experience and gives them something to contribute to the discussion.

“So, what do your friends think about vaping?”

Ask them for suggestions and make them the expert.

“My co-worker found out her daughter is vaping and asked for advice. What do you think I should tell her?”

If they minimize the issue, help make it real.

Talk about both the physical and mental effects of vaping, and how common they are.

“Jason, 99% of e-cigarettes contain nicotine that can harm your brain and lead to addiction.”

Set clear boundaries.

Don't leave room for confusion. Tell them directly and lovingly what is and is not allowed.

“If your friends begin to vape, I want you to call me.”

Help your child learn how to say “No.”

Kids face immense pressure to fit in. Help them learn skills to say no so they can confidently decline an offer without feeling like they'll lose their friends or status. Ways your child can say no to vaping:

  • “It's just not for me.”
  • “We're too young for that.”
  • “I have future goals and I don't want vaping to get in the way of that.”
  • “I don't feel like it.”
  • “My parents would be really upset.”
  • “No.”

If Your Child Vapes

Just because your child or teen vapes doesn't make you a bad parent. What's important is that you stay engaged and continue to love and support them.

Here are some tips for doing just that:

Look past the behavior you don't like. Vaping is what you see on the surface. What's underneath may be a lonely child who's trying to fit in, or a stressed one who's trying to manage the stress of school, or even a hurting one who's acting out and looking for love. Focus on what's driving the behavior and how you can help.

Ask what benefit they're getting and if there's something healthy you can replace it with. Once you've identified what the driving force is, try and find healthier coping mechanisms.

Find out where they've been getting vapes and set clear boundaries. Ask where they've been getting these products and listen to their answer. Then, calmly establish clear, firm boundaries that vaping is not allowed in your home and explain why.

Help them quit. Nicotine is as addictive as heroin. Quitting isn't easy, but it is possible. Your child is more likely to succeed with your support and with the free and confidential resources at SeeThroughTheVape.org. Visit our site or text “Start” to 36072 to start your quit. Visit “How To Help Your Teen Quit” for tips.

Building a Healthy Relationship

Last, but certainly not least, maintaining a close relationship with your child is key to ensuring that he or she stays healthy and safe. While at times it may seem difficult, always remember to keep these simple suggestions in mind.

Quality relationships require:

  • Respect between two people.
  • Consideration for the other person's feelings.
  • Trust between two people.
  • Concern for the other person's feelings.
  • Understanding what the other person is like, what they want, and their likes and dislikes.

Tips for good relationships:

  • Keep in touch. Touch base with your child or teen regularly, even when things are going smoothly.
  • Spend time together. Even if it's just a walk together, your child will notice that you're making the time.
  • Be thoughtful. Remember special days. It doesn't have to be with a gift — just let them know you remembered.
  • Recognize special efforts. Praise them!
  • Say you care. Make it a habit.
  • Be supportive. When your child has a bad day, offer a shoulder to lean on.