Is your Teen Vaping? Here is Everything you Need to Know about Vaping
Teens are starting to vape and smoke much earlier and in higher numbers than ever before. In teen smoking studies led by Professor Luke Clancy, Director General of the TobaccoFree, it has been noted that smoking increased for the first time in 28 years to 14.4% with vaping being a starting point for most teens. Following the release of the 2021 study, Mark Murphy, Advocacy Officer with the Irish Heart Foundation said the research was “deeply concerning, as it saw an increase in current cigarette smoking associated with an increasing use of e-cigarettes.” Ireland is aiming for a Tobacco Free Ireland by 2025.
So, how can you educate your teen on vaping and try to help them avoid a dangerous addiction and curb peer pressure?
Always having open conversation without judgement can help your teen approach you. Don’t be afraid to broach the subject if they have never mentioned it. It is likely your teen has been exposed to vaping and/or smoking so ensuring they are fully aware of what vapes are and the effects they can have on long-term health is more important than ever.
The Facts: Why is vaping bad for teens?
The Irish Government have vowed to put stronger restrictions on vaping over time. Some regulations apply to date - it is illegal to sell vapes to anyone under 18 years old as they contain nicotine and they must contain warnings about the dangers of vaping. You can find more information here on the regulations on vaping and smoking in Ireland.
Vapes contain nicotine and nicotine can cause the following long term health issues:
- Addiction: E-cigarettes contain nicotine, a drug that’s highly addictive. You don’t have to vape every day to get addicted.
- Anxiety and depression: Nicotine makes anxiety and depression worse. It also affects memory, concentration, self-control, and attention, especially in developing brains.
- Sleep problems
- Exposure to toxins and cancer-causing chemicals
- Injuries: Defective e-batteries have caused injuries
- Lung damage that can be life-threatening
It is possible there are multiple other health issues we are not yet aware of as vaping is relatively new with limited research.
How can teens say no?
Saying no when most of their friends are trying vaping can be quite difficult for a young impressionable teen. Teens are trying to find the right friends for themselves but have a strong sense of needing to fit in, so how can they still fit in and say no?
A good message to give your teens is that a good friend will not push them to vape or smoke. If they are being pushed by anyone in particular, it may be time to re-evaluate that friendship. If you continue to say no to peer pressure your decisions will be respected by peers, and something others will remember with respect as you get older. Consider the facts of what you are being asked to do and the possible serious health affects and it makes it easier to say no.
Give your teen the space to talk at all times so they can share their worries about peer pressure surrounding vaping.
My teen is vaping, how can they quit?
If your teen vapes and needs help quitting, there are some resources below that can help. Being compassionate and understanding while they fight this addiction is important in helping support them give up vaping or smoking.
Irish Heart Foundation