Worried about your teen vaping? Dr. G is here to help

The CDC reports 530 cases of lung injury and seven deaths associated with vaping across the U.S.  A new study showed 42 percent of high school seniors reported vaping at some time last year, up 7 percent from the year before. This has many parents concerned, especially because most don’t know much about teen vaping. Parenting expert Dr. Debi Gilboa, or Dr. G, says that’s the perfect launching point for you and your teen to learn together.

 Sixteen-year-old Emma Bowland from Ellwood City spent 10 days at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh with severe lung problems from vaping and wants other kids to know the dangers. “I didn’t think I was coming home,” she said, but she lived to tell the tale. Now, she and her mom want all families to learn from them.

“They’re still children,” says Emma’s mom, Brenda Daufen. “They still need guidance.”

Dr. G says parents can start by asking their kids what they know about teen vaping. Then, ask them, non-judgmentally, “Have you ever been in a position where you had the opportunity to vape or jewel and you chose not to?”  Dr. G adds, “Then it’s much easier to say, ‘And have you ever been in the spot to vape or Juul and you did?  And why did you, and how did you feel about it?’ ” That way, your child feels like it’s a conversation.

If you suspect your child is not telling the truth, Dr. G says to be open with him or her about searching their things.  “I would like to remind parents that privacy is a privilege, not a right.”

When a teenager accuses you of not trusting them, Dr. G suggests saying this, “I do. I trust you to be 14, which means you’re often showing me the best version of yourself and making great choices and sometimes epic fails, and my job is to be the speed bump on your fails to make sure that they’re not too dangerous.”

If you learn that your child is already vaping or Juuling, take your child to a doctor for professional help to quit.

Emma’s mom emphasizes, “If you see it, pull it. If you know it, please, please, please take it from them.”

Dr. G says if you, as a parent, are a smoker, but you don’t want your own child to smoke or vape, first, you can tell your child how you are the best example of how addictive nicotine is. If your child is already smoking, it would be even better if you quit together.

Dr. G also suggests that while some kids and teenagers won’t be swayed by the dangers of teen vaping, many will understand the argument that companies are trying to addict teenagers when they’re young, sometimes with lies, and that they’re too smart to fall for that. Teenagers may feel invincible, but they don’t like to be fooled by deceptive marketing.

You can find more information about teen vaping from the Center for Disease Control here.