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The original item was published from 6/9/2020 4:16:26 PM to 6/9/2020 5:45:22 PM.

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Posted on: June 9, 2020

[ARCHIVED] Parent Tip Tuesday-Vaping

female exhaling while vaping

Vaping is a topic every teen parent needs to know about. Like it or not, your child has been or will be exposed to vaping. It’s critical that you understand the risks of vaping, what you need to explain to your kids and the signs you need to look for. 

I hate saying that your teen has been or will be exposed to vaping, but that’s what the data says…and living in Colorado increases those chances. Colorado leads the nation in teen vaping…and not in a good way. According to the Center for Disease Control, 26.2% of Colorado teens have vaped in the last 30 days, nearly double the national average of 13.2%. One of the biggest issues with vaping is that teens don’t understand the dangers or what’s actually inside a vape pod. Vaping is a nice way to say electronic cigarettes (e-cigs) and remove the stigma of cigarettes. E-cigs are battery-operated devices that turn a liquid into an aerosol for users to inhale. The liquid typically contains nicotine in addition to other chemicals and flavorings. Vaping can also be used with marijuana and other drugs. 

Here are a few signs that your child may be vaping:

  1. Unusual items. Some vaping devices resemble common items like USB drives and pens so they may not be that easy to spot, but they usually have holes on each end. They can also look like more traditional smoking devices. Keep an eye out for refill pods, atomizers and cartridges, which some vaping devices use, and batteries that require recharging. Organic cotton balls and thin metallic coils are other components used when vaping. Vaping devices can also be hidden inside of common items like highlighters.
  2. Sweet smell. Although odorless and scented liquids can be used in electronic smoking devices, many teens choose scented vapor. The most popular flavors are sweet so you may notice an unusually sweet smell, although it goes away quickly.
  3. Changes in thirst and taste. The process of vaping makes users’ mouths dry. So if you see kids drinking more than usual, it may be a sign they’re vaping. A dry mouth also makes food taste less flavorful, so if your child is using more spices or salt, that may also be a clue.
  4. Nosebleeds. Not only does the mouth get dry when vaping but so does the inside of the nose as the vapor is exhaled through the nostrils. This can result in nosebleeds.
  5. Less need for caffeine. Vaping causes some people to be more sensitive to caffeine. If your teen is skipping the daily caffeine fix, it may be time to look for other signs of vaping.
  6. Unexplained cough, throat-clearing or mouth sores. Researchers have linked vaping to mouth wounds that won’t heal and a smoker’s-like cough.

Spotting addiction in your teen may not be easy either, but the signs may be there. Loss of interest in activities, only hanging out with friends who take drugs, mood swings and problems with school work are just a few signs of addiction. Kids Health has an article dealing with addiction that includes more signs of addiction and discusses the impact of addiction.

Because vaping can lead to addiction, quitting may not be easy. As your child works through quitting, they may go through cravings, anxiety and stress. It is also helpful if you know some of the symptoms of withdrawal and talk to your child about their personal triggers that make them want to vape. Smokefreeteen is an excellent resource to help parents and kids work their way through quitting vaping.

Children’s Hospital Colorado put out an informative eight minute video to help educate parents about the dangers of vaping, what we know and what we don’t know about vaping.

Parent Tip Tuesday is a weekly series where the Parker Police Department talks about an issue involving parents and children. Topics will range from the latest apps and technology to building resiliency in your children. Our goal is to give parents five minutes’ worth of information every week that is easily digestible and educate them about new issues that they or their children may face. Please comment below if there are topics that you would like to see us cover.

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