Signs Your Child is Vaping
Before I get into my story about Vaping let me give you some statistics according to the American Academy of Pediatrics or aad about Vaping…
Quick Facts about ENDS
- ENDS are the most commonly-used tobacco products among youth. In 2016, 11% of high schoolers and 4% of middle schoolers reported using e-cigarettes in the last 30 days.1
- Youth who use ENDS products are more likely to use cigarettes or other tobacco products. 2,6
- ENDS contain a liquid solution that is usually flavored. Flavors, which are appealing to children, can include fruit flavors, candy, coffee, piña colada, peppermint, bubble gum, or chocolate. You can read more about the ways the Tobacco Industry uses flavors to lure kids into using tobacco products in “The Flavor Trap ,” a report issued by AAP and four partner organizations.
- ENDS solution has chemicals (ie, anti-freeze, diethylene glycol, and carcinogens like nitrosamines).3
- ENDS devices mimic conventional cigarette use and help re-normalize smoking behaviors.
- ENDS are not approved for smoking cessation, and the long-term health effects to users and bystanders are still unknown. The chemical compounds in an ENDS device can vary between brands.3
- E-liquid from ENDS devices and refill packs can contaminate skin, leading to nicotine poisoning. Symptoms of nicotine poisoning include vomiting, sweating, dizziness, increased heart rate, lethargy, seizures, and difficulty breathing.3
- In 2014, poison centers in the US reported 3,783 exposures to e-cigarette devices and nicotine liquid, compared to only 1,543 exposures in 2013. In 2015, 3,073 exposures were reported.4
- Some states have enacted legislation to require child-resistant packaging for ENDS devices and liquids, and a bill to do this at the national level was signed into law by President Obama in early 2016.
- ENDS users should always keep e-cigarettes and liquid nicotine locked up and out of the reach of children and follow the specific disposal instructions on the label.5
- In 2016, US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, MD MBA released a report, “E-Cigarette Use Among Youth and Young Adults: A Report of the Surgeon General.” The report concluded that youth should not use e-cigarettes due to the health effects on users and on others exposed to secondhand e-cigarette aerosol.6
“Not My Child”
Now that you know the alarming statistics, I’ll tell you my satirical story. I was sitting at my daughter’s school ” Coffee with the Principal” and the discussion was Vaping. The conversation centered on the prevalence of Juul on campus’ district-wide and what an epidemic vaping has become. I was in and out of the conversation because, the “other” students vape, not my child. Not my band nerd, not my straight A student. Yes, I was that ignorant and naive and I could not have been more wrong.
One day we were having a conversation and my daughter had the most violent mood swing I have ever seen. Of course, I did the standard “Go to your room.” And proceeded to follow her up to strip her of her social media. Upon doing this I unfortunately discovered social media posts of her vaping. After I calmed down for fear of what I would say to her without restraint, I went to confront her. Upon confiscating all of her Juul paraphernalia, I realized that if this was right in front of me, I would not have known what it was! It looked just like a thumb drive. How remarkably evil and clever for Juul marketers? Shifty little buggars, those manufacturers!
A Sore Throat
During this time my daughter had been coming to me repeatedly complaining of a sore throat. I dismissed this as allergies as it was every season, medicated her and sent her on her merry way. Yes, hindsight is 20/20, I know now looking back. This was just one of the puzzle pieces that fit together. A sore throat is a number one sign of vaping.
Insomnia & Mood Swings
The second sign my daughter was exhibiting was insomnia and mood swings. And not normal teenage, wanting to stay up all night insomnia. This was the inability to sleep. I would hear her in her room at night go in there demand she gets some sleep to no avail. After infiltrating her tech and social media, I found all sorts of posts at insane hours of the night, which of course was also responsible for the moods also.
Loss of Appetite
The third sign of vaping that again was right in front of me was her complete loss of appetite Now my “spidey” senses were on high alert, I looked into her school account. Her lunch account had not been touched in weeks! For weeks she had not eaten lunch, and this child barely eats but a mini bagel for breakfast. So that’s 9 hours a day no food! She was literally running on empty.
The smell or lack of smell. I would do her laundry and go in her room and there would be a bizarre smell of fruit. I attributed it to her Bath and Body works products that all teen girls are obsessed with and layer on that make them smell like a fruit salad. NOPE, Juul comes in cherry, bubble gum, and many other flavors. Similar to what kids especially girls already smell like easily duping parents.
If you suspect your child of vaping, go thru their stuff, infiltrate their social media. Don’t wait like I did. The signs were right in front of me and I just didn’t see them, maybe I didn’t want to, who knows. I also didn’t tell many of my mom friends because there is a bizarre shame of parents that go along with telling others your child has made a bad decision. The parental judging needs to stop. We have all made bad choices and we do the best we can as parents. Supporting each other and not being so quick to mark someone with the “Scarlett letter, P” for bad parenting is vital, we’re all in this together.
It’s been about 6 months since I wrote this blog post. My daughter is no longer vaping and still in band, tennis and all around over achieving. I on occasion use my ninja spy abilities on her social media sites, but not 24-7. I check in on her to make sure she is making good decisions, but still learning how to become an adult hopefully with the skills I have instilled in her.
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