Speaking to your children about e-cigarettes


E-cigarettes have exploded in popularity and are enjoyed by adults all around the world for the myriad of unique flavour experiences it can bring. They are a fun experience for adults to try and collect/swap out flavours, as well as accessorise and modify.

However, this technology has naturally become a point of concern for parents ever since they broke onto the scene a few years ago. Offering everyone a trendy new way to smoke that was electronic in nature instantly appealed to the younger demographic who had been trained to avoid tailored cigarettes their entire childhood through various anti-smoking awareness and public health campaigns.

Now, many are fearful that all the hard work of these anti-smoking initiatives is being unravelled as people begin to adopt e-cigarettes, many with the pretence that it will help them quit smoking traditional cigarettes. There is a lot of misinformation out there about the true nature of e-cigarettes and their suitability for children.

What are they?

First of all, you need to know what your up against if you are going to ensure you educate and protect your children from misuse or predatory advertising. E-cigarettes is really a blanket term for a whole array of different types of ‘vape’ devices.

The main thing that connects all these devices is the mechanism by which they heat and deliver the flavour to you. Basically, a small battery in the device activates a coil that radiates heat inside of the flavour cartridge, heating it up into a vapour that travels through the device and reaches the users. However, unlike cigarettes users are not encouraged to inhale the vapour, only suck on and puff it out.

At a glance, someone use a vape pen might appear to simply be smoking a traditional cigarette. Some e-cigarettes are even packed in a chassis designed to look like a tailored cigarette so as to create this illusion.

Why do people say e-cigarettes are healthier?

E-cigarettes are not hefty or healthier! While e-cigarettes aren’t healthier to use than tailored cigarettes, this does not necessarily mean they are healthy to use. This is essentially a language game, since something can be healthier that something else, but not necessarily healthy in of itself.

Because e-cigarettes use a battery to heat up the flavour, rather than a combustion process using flame, it is healthier in that respect since smoke going into your lungs is never a good thing. However, e-cigarettes can still contain the highly addictive substance of nicotine (the key addictive ingredient in cigarettes that makes them so hard to quit) as well as many other harmful chemicals and by-products that are unique to each flavour manufacturer.

Chemicals like antifreeze and carcinogens like nitrosamines have been detected in vape juices. Also, second-hand vapour from e-cigarettes can harm growing lungs in small children, so its really not good to have in a young family.

Are e-cigarettes a valid product for adults?

Yes, of course they are! Just like alcohol, fast-food or anything else – humans find ways to poison themselves and waste money all the time, so e-cigarettes shouldn’t be singled out if consenting adults want to use them. In recent years it would be accurate to say the industry has matured past the early, aggressive rush and has settled into its niche, giving adults vapers lots of fantastic choices.

How do you discuss them with children/teens?

As most parents are aware, directly confronting children and telling them they are forbidden from something often hastens them towards the very thing you are trying to keep them away from. The best way to discuss it with them is to wait for it to appear on its own, as your child might never be tempted to vape if you never discuss it with them – wait for an issue to show up and present the facts + what your expectations are.

If you smoke cigarettes, then it will be very difficult for you to convince your teenage child they shouldn’t vape, and they will probably resent you for being hypocritical with your own self-destructive addiction. If you really want to avoid your children falling into bad smoking/vaping habits – set an example.

Hopefully the above helps you with regards to handling e-cigarettes and children.