Teens & Vaping: What to Watch for and How to Talk with Your Kids

The Dangers of Teen Vape Use

According to UVA Cancer Center tobacco treatment specialist Neely Dahl, many teens and young adults just don’t know what’s in the devices they use. The word “vapor” makes it sound safer than it is. In reality, it’s nothing like harmless water vapor.

E-cigs are battery-operated devices that turn a liquid into an aerosol (not a vapor) for users to inhale. The liquid typically contains nicotine in addition to other chemicals and flavorings. Vaping can also be used with marijuana and other drugs.

In addition to inhaling nicotine and other chemicals, even tiny particles of the metals that make up the device’s heating unit are inhaled deep into the lungs when someone vapes. “We don’t know yet what the long-term effects of inhaling these compounds will be, but one could imagine if inhaling small metal particulate matter into our lungs for a long period of time, the health outcomes will not be good,” Dahl says.

The company LiveFree has set out on a mission to solve the teen vaping epidemic by offering parents a test kit to find out for sure if their teen is vaping. This kit will detect trace amounts of nicotine in their system and provide you results in minutes. Click the following link to learn more:

What to Watch For: 6 Signs Your Teen is Vaping

One major issue with vaping is that parents have a hard time knowing when kids are actually doing it. Many of the vaping devices look like everyday objects that would be used for another purpose. And since there’s no smoke, it’s hard to catch kids in the act. The aerosol also dissipates quickly and leaves no residue.

It’s hard to tell if your child is vaping, but these signs may help you figure it out:

  1. Unusual items. Some vaping devices resemble common items like USB drives and pens so they may not be that easy to spot, but they usually have holes on each end. They can also look like more traditional smoking devices. Keep an eye out for refill pods, atomizers and cartridges, which some vaping devices use, and batteries that require recharging. Organic cotton balls and thin metallic coils are other components used when vaping. Vaping devices can also be hidden inside of common items like highlighters.
  2. Sweet smell. Although odorless and scented liquids can be used in electronic smoking devices, many teens choose scented vapor. The most popular flavors are sweet so you may notice an unusually sweet smell, although it goes away quickly.
  3. Changes in thirst and taste. The process of vaping makes users’ mouths dry. So if you see kids drinking more than usual, it may be a sign they’re vaping. A dry mouth also makes food taste less flavorful, so if your child is using more spices or salt, that may also be a clue.
  4. Nosebleeds. Not only does the mouth get dry when vaping but so does the inside of the nose as the vapor is exhaled through the nostrils. This can result in nosebleeds.
  5. Less need for caffeine. Vaping causes some people to be more sensitive to caffeine. If your teen is skipping the daily caffeine fix, it may be time to look for other signs of vaping.
  6. Unexplained cough, throat-clearing or mouth sores. Researchers have linked vaping to mouth wounds that won’t heal and a smoker’s-like cough.
If your teen has shown any of the signs listed above or you are still concerned follow the link for more information.

How to Talk to Your Kids About Vaping

According to Dahl, the best approach to avoiding teen vape use is to educate your kids when they’re young, before they’ve even been exposed to or offered a vape. Dahl says vape use is even rising among middle schoolers. So, the earlier you can start having these conversations, the better.

Help your children understand the facts about what people inhale when they use vaping devices. Dahl also recommends keeping lines of communication open by asking your kids what they’re seeing at school and how they feel about it.

If you’ve found a vaping device of your child’s, or caught them vaping, Dahl says the best course of action is to stay calm rather than shame your child.

“You can’t make them stop. Especially with teenagers, forbidding them from doing something is likely to make them want to do it even more. Instead, invite them to sit down and discuss vaping and the dangers of what its ingredients can do to their bodies. Let it be a dialogue,” she says.

The only path to ensure your child's health and wellbeing is to make sure to break their nicotine addiction once you have identified they have an issue. As a parent you need to know that your child's system is free of nicotine. LiveFree give you the tools to monitor their vaping habits. Click Learn More to get your vaping test kit now.