Parent Guide to Teen Vaping

Parent Guide to Teen Vaping

Many teens today believe that vaping is a safe habit. About 1 in 5 high school students vape, therefore exposing themself to nicotine. Teens typically start with vaping and many increase their use and start smoking cigarettes later on.

It is not always easy to detect if your teen is using e-cigarettes. Some vaping devices look like USB drives, watches, pens, and markers. Some parts such as refill pods that contain vape juice, batteries, and chargers may be found in your teen’s room.

It is important that you talk to your child early on about vaping and the harmful chemicals that people breathe in when they vape. Starting an open dialogue about vaping, and asking how your child feels about it is a good way to start.

In addition to nicotine, some dangerous chemicals, such as formaldehyde, form when nicotine liquid is heated to high temperatures. Vaping can cause an outbreak in lung injuries, making it difficult for your teen athlete to perform in their sport activities. Bronchitis and asthma can also typically develop with vape use.

Effects on the Brain

In the classroom, your teen may be struggling more with focus and concentration and they may struggle more with studying or completing assignments on time.  Nicotine changes the way the brain’s synapses form, and research shows that nicotine can interfere with processes that are critical to memory, learning, focus, impulse control and brain development. 

Nicotine also acts on the brain’s dopamine system, which plays a role in desire, pleasure, reward, and impulse control. It has also been shown that even a brief, low dose exposure to nicotine in early adolescence increases the rewarding properties of other drugs, including alcohol, cocaine, and methamphetamines. Adolescents who vape are also at risk for developing attention disorders like ADHD, impulse control issues, and a higher susceptibility to substance use. All of these changes could affect the brain long term. 

Cost and Treatment

The cost of vaping has increased and the average teen struggles to afford the habit. A Center for Disease Control and Prevention study found that in 2020 the average rechargeable e-cigarette device cost $13.00, the average disposable e-cigarette cost $9.00. Vaping could ultimately cost more than 4,000 a year, and for many teens, more than that.

To quit vaping is just as hard as quitting smoking. There are treatment options if you find out your teen is vaping. It is important to first visit your teen’s pediatrician about counseling and medications that can help with nicotine addiction and withdrawal.

The Truth Initiative reports that 52.9% of middle and high school students who have used e-cigarettes have tried to quit on their own. As a parent, it is very important to provide support for your teen if they make the decision to try to quit vaping. Your support is critical to helping your teen quit. Check out resources like or call Vape 1-833-LTS-TALK and connect to a quitting coach for support.

About me
Kirsten Book, PMHNP-BC

I support the patient to help them feel empowered in their own recovery.

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