NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – Science is still unclear on the health impact of inhaling vapor with nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals. Researchers are challenged by the pace of new products developed and with the skyrocketing number of young people vaping.
Parents, experts say, can have an impact.
“We’ve always known that parents who have candid conversations with their kids can really make a difference,” says psychiatrist Dr. Suchitra Krishnan-Sarin, who heads up the Yale Tobacco Center of Regulatory Sciences.
Dr. Deep Camenga, a Yale Medicine pediatrician who studies youth substance use, adds that parents should be supportive, “I found this in your room. I really want to help you. I hope you can be open with me talking about it. I really want to help you, what can I do to help you?”
Sharing information, they say, about what is known about nicotine should be part of that conversation.
Dr. Krishnan-Sarin explains, “The adolescent brain is not only very sensitive to nicotine, it also produces a lot of changes in the adolescent body and brain. It’s a known neuro-toxin.”
“Share your concerns about their health and safety. I know I’m learning a lot. These are addictive. They can impact your health long term. I’m concerned about your safety,” Dr. Camenga suggests.
And you need to listen to what your kid has to say.
Dr. Camenga says, “I found this in your room. This is an e-cigarette. Have you been using it? Tell me about it.”
Find out if peer pressure plays a role.
“Instead of hanging out with the kids that they vape with, ” says Dr. Krishnan-Sarin, “Are there other activities could they be participating in? Encourage your kids to participate in healthy activities like clubs, like sports teams.”
They say there’s evidence that good parental relationships and monitoring is protective against starting to use substances, including nicotine and tobacco.
Some teens who’ve vaped and ended up in the hospital have posted on social media about what they’ve gone through.
Dr. Krishman-Sarin says they could be effective, depending on the age of your child.
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