Public service messages years ago about the dangers of smoking were responsible to reducing smoking among high school students to almost nothing, 5%. Today, there’s a new concern. It’s vaping. California is trying to ban vaping of tobacco and other products altogether.
We talked to our Parenting Expert Janet Allison from BOYS ALIVE DOT COM about how widespread vaping is, and what we can do as parents to keep our kids from doing it.
HOW MANY KIDS ARE ACTUALLY VAPING?
Just since 2017, studies are showing that nearly 1 in 3 high school students have tried vaping or juuling, as it is sometimes called. And in December 2018, the Surgeon General declared youth vaping an epidemic.
Vaping dramatically increases an individual’s chances of becoming a smoker –
Teens who vape are almost four times as likely as their peers to begin smoking regular cigarettes.
WHAT’S IN THESE VAPE PENS?
Most vape juice contains high levels of nicotine – twice the amount of regular cigarettes. Nictotine is highly addictive and more so to teens and tweens who are in a sensitive time of brain development.
Vape mist doesn’t leave a tell-tale odor like cigarettes do. It can smell like juicy fruit or mango. The devices are also easy to conceal – some look like a computer thumb drive or a guitar pick.
SO WHAT SHOULD PARENTS DO ABOUT IT?
Ask your tween and teen if other kids are vaping. Ask them what they think – and then listen. Many kids don’t realize how much nicotine is delivered and how addictive they are. And they don’t realize that the vapor – that looks like mist – also is laden with chemicals.
Lecturing doesn’t work with these ages – first try to understand what your child knows and help them to recognize that vaping is highly addictive.
You can find tools to help your teen kick the habit at http://teen.smokefree.gov.
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LET’S TALK ABOUT OVERNIGHT CAMPS…..THERE SHOULD BE A LITTLE PREP BEFORE YOU SEND KIDS ON THEIR WAY, RIGHT?
WHAT ABOUT THE VALUE OF CAMPS….WHAT DO KIDS GET OUT OF THEM?
Dr. Michael Thompson, in his book, “Homesick and Happy” emphasizes the value of sleep-away camp and how it develops self-esteem and resiliency in your kids.
Sleep away camp has LONG-LASTING benefits:
· Your child learns to be independent – this isn’t something you can give them.
· Your child learns to make new friends – kids who may not look like them – learning to appreciate those differences
· Your child may make life – long friendships
· Experience living in a close-knit community and working out differences
Even more important:
· Your child learns to face challenges and solve them – without you