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Why Do Kids Start Vaping?

Did you know that the majority of adult smokers began before the age of 18? The sooner kids begin using nicotine and tobacco, the more likely they are to become addicted. Many are addicted before they even finish high school.

There are many reasons why a child might begin vaping, including:

  • Peer pressure from friends
  • Growing up with parents smoking
  • Desire to show independence/be rebellious
  • Media influence
  • Misconceptions of health impacts

With the proper resources and tools by your side, you have the ability to help your child quit vaping or using tobacco in any form, or even help prevent them from vaping in the first place.

Tips for Keeping Kids Vape-Free & Smoke-Free

With the proper resources and tools by your side, you have the ability to help your child quit vaping or using tobacco in any form, or even help prevent them from vaping in the first place.

If you’re a parent that smokes – quit

Children of smokers are more likely to use tobacco products than children of nonsmokers – so if you’re smoking, it’s highly recommended that you quit not only for your own health and well-being, but for that of your child. If you’re ready to quit today, call the CT Quitline at 1-800-QUIT NOW (784-8669) or visit Commit To Quit today. 

Keep an eye on who your child spends time with

Children can be highly influenced by their friends, so do your best to keep an eye on the people your child surrounds themselves with and whether they’re using tobacco products themselves.

Get to know the parents of your child’s friends

If they’re smokers or if they condone smoking, your child might be getting mixed messages. 

Talk with your child about effects that matter to them

Instead of focusing on long-term health consequences they might not care about, talk about the negative effects that tobacco can have on your appearance, how it reduces your energy level when playing sports, or other short-term impacts that they might care about more.

Talk about peer pressure

If your child is spending time with other kids who are using tobacco products, discuss ways they can say no if someone offers them a cigarette or vape.

Build up their self-confidence

Confident kids with high self-esteem are less likely to fall victim to peer pressure from others their age or want to take up vaping or smoking to rebel.

Talk about more than vapes and cigarettes

Explain that smokeless tobacco, hookah and cigars all have dangers, including nicotine addiction.

Maintain a dialogue

When your child feels like they can talk to you about anything, they’ll be more likely to talk to you about vaping.

Discuss what they’re seeing in the media

It’s difficult to avoid seeing tobacco in the media or advertisements, so have an open conversation with your child about what they’re seeing on their screens. If they see someone in a movie smoking, for example, you can ask them what they think of this character and explain that smoking doesn’t make them cool.

Explain the financial cost of smoking

Point out that smoking is a very expensive habit. Explain that instead of spending money on tobacco, they could buy makeup, new clothes, video games, or other things that matter to them.

Talk with Your Kids About Vaping & Using Tobacco!

Perhaps one of the most important things you can do as a parent to help your child stay vape and tobacco-free is talking to them. Talking to your children about vaping and smoking can play an important role.

  • Be patient and ready to listen to your child. 
  • Your goal is to have a conversation with them, not to deliver a lecture or make them feel as though you’re angry. 
  • Tell them why you do not want them to start using tobacco products, especially because it is so hard to stop.
  • You can ask them open-ended questions, such as, “What do you think of cigarettes?” or “Do you have any questions for me about vaping?”
  • Use any personal stories from your own life or the lives of loved ones to explain why vaping and using tobacco has negative impacts. 

Additional Resources for Parents

Surgeon General’s Advisory on Vaping Use Among Youth
The importance of protecting our children from a lifetime of nicotine addiction and health risks by addressing youth vaping.
Parents Against Vaping
PAVe is a national grassroots organization founded in 2018 as a response to the youth vaping epidemic.
Resources to support parents and adults who want to quit, as well as tips to help the children in their life quit vaping.
American Academy of Pediatrics Guidance on Tobacco Use Cessation for Adolescents
This information is intended to support pediatricians, public health professionals and other key stakeholders in preventing tobacco use and exposure in children and families.