As a parent, you are the first step in preventing the next generation of smokers. But it’s often tough to know how to talk to your kids about a product or subject that is constantly evolving.
Since the release of last year’s State Health Officer’s Report on E-Cigarettes: A Community Threat, research has continued to prove the alarming rise in youth and young adults’ use of e-cigarettes, and this use of e-cigarettes by youth is hitting home in California.
According to recently released California Healthy Kids Survey data, middle and high school teens are currently using e-cigarettes at much higher rates than traditional cigarettes: Seventh graders: 8% use e-cigarettes vs.3% smoking cigarettes; ninth graders: 13% use e-cigarettes vs. 5% smoke cigarettes; and eleventh graders: 16% use e-cigarettes vs. 9% smoke cigarettes.
In a survey conducted by Yale Researchers, appealing flavors was one of the top reasons students experimented with e-cigarettes. E-liquids come in a variety of enticing flavors like Fruit Loops and Cap’n Crunch.
That's tough to be beat right? It may seem so, but with these tips on what you can do to educate and keep your children safe from the risks associated with e-cigarettes and vaping you'll have the tools you need to help them wake up and see they're still blowing smoke.
Wake Up – You're Still Blowing Smoke
As a parent, you are the first step in preventing the next generation of smokers. But it’s often tough to know how to talk to your kids about a product or subject that is constantly evolving. Below are some tips on what you can do to educate and keep your children safe from the risks associated with e-cigarettes and vaping:
- Talk to your kids. E-cigarettes are purposefully designed to appeal to a younger audience with fruit and, candy flavored “e-juice” marketed by celebrities. Have a conversation with your children clarifying that while commercials make e-cigarettes appear safe and trendy, there are many known health threats that accompany vaping.
- Set Expectations. Express disappointment, rather than anger, toward the idea of your children vaping. Let them know that nicotine and the other chemicals found in e-cigarettes are dangerous and could be a gateway to smoking traditional cigarettes.
- Be a role model. E-cigarettes are everywhere today, and kids are receiving an abundance of exposure through advertisements, smoke shops and friends. If you are a smoker and are using e-cigarettes to help you quit, avoid vaping around your kids. The more they see you, the more legitimate your actions and behavior will appear to them.
- Remove the threat. The candy and fruit flavors of e-cigarettes greatly appeal to children, who may mistakenly drink the e-liquid. E-liquid and e-cigarette batteries are poisonous and can be life-threatening if swallowed. If you are using e-cigarettes, never leave e-cigarettes or e-liquid where children can get them. Contact the California Poison Control System right away at 1-800-222-1222 if any e-liquid is swallowed, gets on the skin or in the eyes.
- Get Involved. Help protect youth from the potential harmful effects of e-cigarettes and e-liquid by encouraging their regulation, including the regulation of manufacturing practices, childproof packaging, and the elimination of flavors.
For more information, visit stillblowingsmoke.org.
Portions of this material have been provided by the California Tobacco Control Program. Image courtesy of Flickr.