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December 9, 2019 | Family Medicine • Pediatrics • Pulmonology
You’ve noticed that your 15-year-old daughter has been coughing a lot lately. You’re worried she might be sick. You ask her if she’s ever tried vaping, and she admits that she has been doing it for a while, and now vapes multiple times a day. You’ve heard about the dangers of vaping in the news, but how can you educate yourself with the facts about vaping and keep your child safe and informed too?
We don’t yet know all the side effects of vaping, but doctors do have a good idea of what the risks are. We asked Revere Health pulmonologist Dr. Al-Shuqairat and physician assistant Shawn Hill about their thoughts on vaping. Here are a few things they shared with us:
The manufacturers of vape machines do a great job of making their products hard to identify. We’ve outlined a few things that you can look out for if you think your child may be vaping.
Vaping Equipment: Devices will often look like small pens or thumb drives. Also, be on the lookout for bottles filled with juice or gels.
Smell: You may notice a pleasant smell but have no idea where it is coming from. If you smell something like bubble gum, cotton candy or chocolate cake, take note.
Increased Thirst/Nosebleeds: Some of the chemicals used in vaping products can dehydrate the body. If your child is drinking more water, or their noses and sinuses are dry, this could be a sign.
Vaping Lingo: You may see vape lingo in text messages such as “atty” for an atomizer, “VG” for vegetable glycerin found in e-juice or “sauce,” referring to e-juice. Kids often brag about their vaping exploits on social media. Look for pictures on Instagram or YouTube, or check their Twitter accounts.
Be equipped with the facts: Knowing about the risks associated with vaping and having statistics to back up your claims can be very useful. It is also important to be familiar with different vape devices so you can spot them.
Initiate conversations: Use outside media such as letters from school, TV shows or advertisements to start conversations about vaping. Use open-ended questions such as “what do you think about vaping?” to start the conversation and help your child open up.
Convey your expectations: Make sure you are clear about your views on vaping. Express your understanding of the risks but also why you could see someone being interested in vaping. If you choose to set consequences, be sure to follow through while also reinforcing healthier choices.
Be a good role model: Set a positive example by being vape- and tobacco-free. It is easier for your children to justify vaping if they see you using the product.
“Outbreak of Lung Injury Associated with the Use of E-Cigarette, or Vaping, Products.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Vaping: What You Need to Know.” TeensHealth.
“Harmful Effects of Nicotine.” US National Library of Medicine.
The Live Better Team
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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.