As a mom and physician, I know a lot of information is circulating about vaping and the dangers it poses to children. For an overview of the problem, please read this article that explains what parents need to know about this rapidly growing threat to kids’ safety.
In Part 2, the following article offers, through a wealth of resources, ideas and strategies on how to keep your kids from vaping. Also, as there are several proposed bills related to vaping in the Colorado General Assembly this session, I include advocacy resources at the end.
Resources for parents about talking with middle- and high-schoolers about e-cigarettes
The key to maintaining a dialog about e-cigarettes is listening well and making sure the child or teen feels safe talking openly.
- Instead of leading with facts, consider starting with genuine curiosity. Ask something like “what’s your take on e-cigarettes?”
- Avoid criticism and encourage an open dialogue.
- Remember, your goal is to have a conversation, not to deliver a lecture.
- It’s OK for your conversation to take place over time, in bits and pieces.
These are all really great resources about talking with youth about e-cigarettes. They vary, so look at a few before your figure out which one fits best with your parenting style.
Resources for teens
The Colorado QuitLine’s web, text and phone programs are now available to those as young as 12 years old. New web features and tobacco treatment specialists make quit support free and accessible for youth who want to quit vaping.
Smoke-Free Teen, a website from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Cancer Institute, also provides free quit support for youth, including SmokeFreeTXT, the quitSTART app, trained coaches, and healthy tips to handle stress and social pressure.
Teens in 12 states — including Colorado— can visit My Life My Quit to connect with a free and confidential vaping-cessation coach.
For teen-specific social support, Truth Initiative developed This Is Quitting — a vaping cessation program for young people. join, text "DITCHJUUL" to 88709.
Advocate for vaping related legislation
Parents and teens can also become involved in advocating for better policies related to vaping. In the 2019 session, Colorado lawmakers updated the clean indoor act to include vaping and clarify that local communities can have their own regulations. Bills proposed for the 2020 session include a ban on flavored vaping products and raising the age for e-cigarette purchases to 21 years.
For the 2020 session, Children’s Hospital Colorado has prioritized addressing the crisis of youth tobacco and nicotine addiction. Sign up here to get Children’s Colorado’s advocacy reminders on how you can help promote these child health policies:
- align Colorado law with federal changes to raise the age of tobacco sales to 21 in Colorado and establish a strong retailer enforcement mechanism.
- ban the flavors in these products that hook children.
- raise the state’s tobacco tax.
- close the tax loophole on liquid nicotine.
Guest contributor: Marion R. Sills, MD, MPH, professor, CU School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics. Reach her on Twitter @MarionRSills