Vaping, which is now the accepted term for using an electronic cigarette, is something that has now become quite trendy in certain circles. Where some people see it as a passing hipster fad, others believe it may replace smoking altogether in a matter of time, and it also has several well-known celebrity fans, like Johnny Depp and Katy Perry.
When it comes to the science behind ecigs, they work in a way that makes them far less antisocial than actually smoking – they release a fragranced water vapor rather than a smoke, so people don’t tend to mind being around vapers as much as smokers. They also don’t cause some of the beauty issues related to smoking, such as stained hands, teeth and hair, so it is easy to see why vaping might appeal to teens or even kids who want to look cool, emulate their favorite actors and musicians, and who also care about being popular and looking good.
However, e-cigs, e-liquids and their related products are sold as being for adults only, and this is something that is done for many good reasons. As a parent, you may see taking up vaping as a lesser evil than your child becoming a cigarette smoker, or may not even have really thought about it as it is a fairly new thing, but it is still a good idea to talk to kids and teens about vaping and why it isn’t appropriate for under 18’s.
Why Should Vaping Be For Adults Only?
Vaping is, in most countries, only allowed for people over the age of 18 – the same as cigarette smoking. This is enforced by the fact that stores and websites who sell vaping products and accessories will not sell them to people below that age. This is already a good reason for kids not to be doing it, as if they think it is OK to use some age restricted products like e-cigs then they are less likely to take age restrictions on other things like alcohol seriously. But why is there an age limit on e-cigs?
Nicotine is Addictive However it is Delivered
E-liquids used with e-cigs often (but not always) contain nicotine. This is because e-cigs are designed for people who already have an addiction to nicotine as an alternative to smoking tobacco. Even the nicotine free e-liquids are designed to be used by former smokers who have gotten over their addiction to the drug but miss the habit of holding and inhaling something. What this means is that if someone who has never been hooked on cigarettes, like a child or teen (even kids who have tried smoking cigarettes are unlikely to be addicted as it takes a period of smoking to develop a physical addiction), uses an e-cig with nicotine e-liquid, they will eventually become hooked on nicotine too. Nicotine itself is not thought to be harmful to adults, but for growing bodies, the jury is still out, and really, it is better if people who aren’t really old enough to make sensible life choices aren’t casually using addictive substances at all.
Just as you may need to talk to your kids about other adult things the other kids at school might be doing, like underage sex, alcohol or drug use, or smoking cigarettes, peer pressure may be a factor you need to overcome when you are talking to your child or teen about vaping. Because so many adults now use e-cigs, and because they can be used more publicly than cigarettes (both in terms of what is legal and what is socially acceptable), some teens may see it as a cool, fashionable practice that will make them look older. In reality, it is just an expensive thing to get pointlessly addicted to if you are a non-smoker, but since it looks hi-tech and there are celebrities doing it, there are sure to be a few kids in the average school who are keen for their friends to join them in vaping. Remind them that for every kid that thinks it is cool to vape, there are probably ten more who think it’s lame and annoying.
There are probably so many talks you feel like you need to have with your teen or child as they get closer to being an adult and are more tempted by things that should only be accessible to adults, that it can be easy to forget the less scary sounding ones like vaping. However, it is still good to raise the point with them that there is an age limit on it for a reason and not to do it until they’re old enough to make the choice.
Vaping image by Shutterstock