As a parent, you want the best for your kids, and helping them quit e-cigarettes definitely falls into that category. A big part of that is helping your teen figure out how vaping is affecting their life and why they might want to stop. Here are six ways to help motivate kids to stop vaping.
1. Help Them Find Their “Why”
Knowing why you’re quitting is an important first step to staying motivated. You can offer your reasons for why you’d like your teen to quit vaping, but it’s important you also help them find their own why.
Try this: Have a conversation about why they want to give up e-cigarettes or the negative impacts e-cigarettes have on their lives. Start the conversation with questions like:
- What have you heard about vaping?
- What do teens like about vaping?
- What do you think teens dislike about vaping?
- What are the pros and cons about vaping for you?
2. Better Performance in the Classroom
Nicotine is bad for young brains. It literally changes the way the brain’s synapses form, and it also negatively impacts focus and learning. If your teen takes pride in their grades, or otherwise has a drive to do well in school, you might ask if they’ve noticed any ways that vaping has affected them in school.
Try this: Ask your teen to consider if vaping or thinking about vaping is affecting their schoolwork or grades.
3. Better Performance on the Field
Studies have already shown that vaping can lead to a higher risk of bronchitis and asthma, which don’t mix well with playing a sport. Many teenagers put a lot of time and effort into athletics and they don’t want to let down the team. Point out to your teen that vaping isn’t harmless and help them be honest with themselves about how vaping might be affecting their sports lives.
Try this: Ask your teen to assess if they think vaping has made it harder for them to play and enjoy sports, says clinical psychologist Lisa Damour, PhD. If they’re feeling brave, Damour says, they can also ask a coach’s honest opinion about whether their sports performance or camaraderie with their teammates has suffered since they started vaping.
4. Show Them the Money
Many teens don’t have a ton of cash to burn — they may be spending more than they realize on the habit. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found that in 2016 the average rechargeable e-cigarette device cost $10.33; the average disposable e-cigarette cost $8.01; a pack of five prefilled cartridges cost $14.36 and one bottle of e-liquid cost $6.83. Vaping could cost more than $1,000 a year — for some well over.
Try this: Have your teen write down a goal for another way to spend the money. Maybe it’s toward a car, a new outfit, or a fun event with friends.
5. Help Them Find Their Freedom
The more often you vape, the more your brain and body get used to having nicotine and the harder it gets to go without it. That’s addiction. If your teen is only vaping occasionally, point out that now is a great time for them to quit — before it becomes much harder to do so, says Linda Richter, PhD, director of policy research and analysis at the Center on Addiction.
Try this: Nicotine withdrawal symptoms like headaches, restlessness, and trouble concentrating aren’t fun. Ask your teen to imagine a future where e-cigarettes, and the addictive nicotine they contain, aren’t running the show. Have them consider how they feel when it’s been awhile since they’ve vaped:
- Do they feel anxious or irritable?
- Are thoughts of vaping interfering with enjoying another activity?
- Do they feel they’ve lost control over vaping?
6. Let Them Know They’re Not Alone
Tell your teens that even if a lot of their friends are vaping, it doesn’t mean they all want to keep doing it. The Truth Initiative reports that 52.9% of middle and high school students who have used e-cigarettes have tried to quit.
Try this: Your support is critical to helping your teen quit, but don’t feel like either of you have to do it alone. Check out resources like Teen.Smokefree.gov. You can also call Vape 1-833-LTS-TALK (1-833-587-8255) and connect to a quitting coach for support.