Whether or not you have a teen at home, you’ve probably heard about the vaping trend that’s sweeping the nation. Intended to be a “healthier” alternative to cigarettes and available in flavors like bubblegum and cherry, vapes have become quite popular in the last few years, and as a result, has become a pretty serious problem in schools around the nation and here in Colorado.
This post is in partnership with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, but opinions are mine.
I thought vaping was something overhyped by the media until it impacted me personally. My son Mikael was recently caught in school vaping with his friends. Apparently, one of his friends brought a vape pen into class, and they decided to take turns trying it, thinking it was “cool.” Mikael got in-school detention and, of course, was grounded the moment he came home.
It was important to me that Mikael understood exactly why we were punishing him. We aren’t telling him not to vape because we think it’s silly – we’re telling him not to do it because it’s legitimately bad for him. While vaping doesn’t give off the same carcinogens you inhale when you smoke a cigarette, you’re still consuming nicotine and other cancer-causing chemicals, and you’re setting yourself up for bad habits later on, as teens who vape are four times more likely to smoke cigarettes later in life as depicted by this survey.
However, aside from the basics of vaping, we weren’t too informed on the subject – and we didn’t know how to start a conversation about it that was constructive, not critical. So I took to the Internet, where I learned that the Colorado State Department of Health has tons of resources available to help parents understand just why vaping is so dangerous. From documents to help you understand what vaping actually is to fact sheets that dispel common myths around vaping, you can equip yourself with the knowledge you need to have that conversation and give yourself peace of mind that your son or daughter won’t be tempted into vaping.
Here are just a few of the reasons you should educate your child on the dangers of vaping:
- Vaping is an epidemic. Roughly half of high school students in Colorado have tried to vape nicotine, and nearly 30% admitted to currently vaping nicotine. If you think your teen is immune to the temptations of vaping, think again.
- Vaping is viewed among teens as a healthier alternative to smoking cigarettes. The survey revealed that 87% of Colorado’s high school students know smoking cigarettes is risky, but only 50% thought those risks applied to vaping. This shows that many teens hold the misconception that vaping is OK, which can lead to a dangerous habit.
- Nicotine has a negative impact on your teen’s growing brain. Your teen’s brain is still developing. Consuming nicotine has an adverse effect on that development, which can result in poor memory, an inability to focus, and other cognitive and behavioral impairments. This damage is lasting and cannot be undone.
Don’t wait until it’s too late to teach your child about the dangers of vaping. By having the conversation and helping them understand the risks they run when they vape, you are empowering them with the knowledge they need to say no when given the opportunity to try a vape for themselves.
For more information, visit tobaccofreeco.org.