The Massachusetts Department of Public Health, in collaboration with the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation, launched a campaign for middle and high school aged youth to raise awareness about the dangers of vapes and e-cigarette use.
Like the campaign and its materials? If so, reach out to schools, youth-serving organizations, youth groups at faith-based organizations, pediatricians, or other organizations in your community and ask them to use the campaign’s resources and materials.
The campaign and its materials are also a great conversation starter about the topic. Follow the tips below to start the conversation with your kids.
If you are concerned about your kids using e-cigarettes and other vaping products, there are many things you can do:
Get the Facts. Learn as much as you can about vaping products: what they look like, common brand names, and where they are sold.
Talk with Your Kids. Talking with your kids about vaping is one of the most important things you can do. Below are tips to help you prepare for and start the conversation.
Be patient and ready to listen. Your goal is to have a conversation, not to deliver a lecture. So avoid criticism and encourage an open dialogue.
There is no “perfect time” to talk. Driving in the car together or waiting at an appointment is often a good time. Or make it a part of dinner time conversation. You can start by mentioning a news story, a TV show, or something that you heard about vaping. Or ask your child what they think about a situation you witness together such as seeing someone use an e-cigarette, passing a vape shop when you are out, or seeing an e-cigarette advertisement.
There is no “perfect talk.” Consider your talks with your child about vaping as a learning opportunity for both of you, and perhaps just the beginning of an ongoing dialogue. You may have some facts about vaping at hand, but admit that you don’t know all the answers. It will go a long way to keep your kids from going on the defensive.
Ask what your child thinks. Show some genuine curiosity. Ask your child, “What’s your take on vaping?” or “Do you know kids who use e-cigarettes?”
Be open and honest. Be truthful about what you know about the dangers of vaping, and what you don’t. You can honestly say, though, “Vaping isn’t harmless. I hope you can steer clear of it.”
You can’t always control everything your children do when they’re not with you. Talking with your kids about vaping will let them know that you’re concerned about their health.
How can I help my child quit?
Quitting vapes or other tobacco products can be hard. Visit Help Youth Quit to help your child get the support they need.
Encourage young people to join The 84 Movement. Hundreds of high school students across Massachusetts take part in this youth initiative that empowers young people to work for change in their own communities. Ask your child if there is an 84 Chapter at their school. If not, maybe they can help start one! Learn more about The 84 Movement.
Learn more about what you can do. Educating yourself, talking with your kids and encouraging them to get involved in fighting the tobacco and vaping industries’ influence in your community is important. You can also fight the tobacco and vaping industries’ efforts to make their products attractive for young people. Here’s how:
- Contact your child’s school and let them know you are concerned. Ask them what they are doing to address the use of e-cigarettes at school. Refer them to the “For Schools” section of this website and encourage them to utilize the Different Products. Same Dangers. campaign materials.
- Check local policies. Find out what local policies can be put into place to further help protect young people from exposure to tobacco and nicotine. For example, there are local policies that restrict the number of retailers selling tobacco, restrict where tobacco products can be sold (near a school, for example), or restrict the price and packaging of tobacco products.
- Spread the word. Many people mistakenly think that vaping is harmless. It’s not, and nearly one in three high school students report currently using e-cigarettes.
- Contact your local Tobacco-Free Community Partnership to learn more about tobacco and vaping in your community and engage with other community members. Tobacco-Free Community Partnership programs work to reduce the tobacco and vaping industries’ influence in cities and towns across Massachusetts.