How to talk to your teen about the dangers of vaping

Connecticut Families

SIMSBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — “Going through high school, I’ve seen a lot of vaping always,” says Simsbury High School student Ethan Hamlin.

He and his friend, Alex Peluso, say they don’t think students are changing their habits despite recent deaths and illnesses blamed on a lung disease related to vaping.

“I don’t think they’re paying attention to the news,” says Hamlin. “I think a lot of students are blowing off the numbers.”

“They don’t think it’s going to happen to them,” adds Peluso.

“There is no long term research,” says Megan Clarke, a clinician and licensed social worker at the Child Guidance Center for Central Connecticut.

She says teens need to know the facts – that the effects of e-cigarettes on a developing brain are virtually unknown.

“Any kind of substance that can interfere with that development can affect learning, attention, memory, impulse control,” she says. “It’s not just water vapor, it’s not harmless, there are a lot of risks and we still don’t know all of them.”

Clarke says the center is hearing from worried parents and offers these tips for opening dialogue:

  • Be non-judgmental. Calmly say, “Tell me about vaping in your school.”
  • Encourage kids to seek advice from school counselors.
  • Show them a news article and say, “What do you think?”

“It should feel much more like a conversation versus a lecture because that’s when kids will tune you out,” says Clarke.

“Maybe talk with them about the dangers because this is a really big crisis and having that kind of conversation with your parents is key,” adds Peluso.

Hamlin and Peluso believe teens need to reach the maturity to make smart, personal decisions when it comes to vaping. “I think over time we’ll see a decrease in it but i don’t know if there will be a big catalyst that will make that change,” says Hamlin.

The Child Guidance Center offers a healthy alternatives group to give teens the resiliency and power to make good choices.

Click here for more information.

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