Teens who vape or use e-cigarettes are seven times more likely to use tobacco products.
Statistics like that led school districts 203 and 204 to partner with 360 Youth Services to present “Vaping 101: What Parents Need to Know.” The speakers gave facts about youth and the vaping trend and suggested how to talk to your teen about it.
“Ask them about these products. Bring it up in a natural way, ‘what are you hearing about these products? Are your friends talking about it? Have you seen this going on?’ And keep that conversation going. The earlier you have these conversations with your kids the better,” said presenter Niki Partacz, a youth prevention education coordinator at 360 Youth Services.
Other tips for parents included keeping an eye out for vape devices disguised like USB drives called Juuls.
“So what they can actually do with the Juul is they can actually take a hit of it, or a drag, and they can actually ghost it. Which means they just hold onto that vapor that’s in their mouth, and they don’t exhale anything. It’s just absorbed by the whole body,” explained Justin Wolfe, a clinical therapist in the adolescent addictions program at Linden Oaks.
Vaping devices or e-cigarettes deliver flavors that are inhaled and can sometimes contain nicotine, which come in either small pod or liquid form.
“So you get these kids that are going through these pods that are equivalent to one pack of cigarettes and they’re not thinking about that,” said Wolfe. “But these kids are riffling through these pods rapidly where they’re going through a pod a day. And that’s wild to think about like a 12, 13, 14-year-old smoking a pack of cigarettes, but it’s not getting lined up in that same light.”
Many teens view vaping as harmless, but studies show that even vapes that are non-nicotine still contain many harmful chemicals.
Asking teens open-ended questions about what they know about vaping can be the important step to ending the notion that it’s a harmless habit.
“I think tonight’s presentation gave me a lot of questions to go and ask the teens. They can solve the problems. I think they just need to be educated on what it’s doing for them and how harmful it can be,” said attendee Judi Wincek, the manager of Operation Snowball for 360 Youth Services.
The next Vaping 101 discussion will be held on March 21 at Metea Valley High School.
Naperville News 17’s Christine Lena reports.