First of all, it is better to be informed on the subject, believes Annie Papageorgiou, director general of the Quebec Council on tobacco and health. In recent years, myths have circulated about vaping. Examples ? We have heard in particular that the smoke produced is only water vapor or that vapers do not contain nicotine. However, although some vaping liquids without nicotine exist, 90% of those consumed by young people contain it, according to figures from the CQTS. “Nicotine has been proven to impair memory and concentration in adolescents,” says Annie Papageorgiou. It can also promote the appearance of psychological disorders such as depression, stress, anxiety. We also know that it can weaken the capacity of the lungs. The CQTS Executive Director believes that parents should be aware of the harmful effects of vaping and invites them to consult the “Québec sans tabac” site for more information.
Do you want to discourage your child from trying the vape? Trying to scare him by exposing him to all the research on the subject is not the avenue that Annie Papageorgiou recommends. It is better to focus on dialogue by “validating with him what he knows about the vaper and what he thinks about it”. Myriam Day Asselin, Director of Innovation and Development at Tel-Jeunes, also believes in the importance of opening the discussion with her teenager. “It’s always good to work with open-ended questions. It allows us to understand where our young person is in his understanding of the subject. “What do you think about vaping?” or “Is it popular at your school?” are two examples of possible questions. “Parents often assume that their child does not want to discuss these subjects with them, but studies show that on the contrary, young people expect to have these discussions with their parents. I’m not saying they won’t roll their eyes, but parents are still THE reliable and trusted source for a young person,” said Annie Papageorgiou.
Knowing that some students start vaping in fifth or sixth grade, should you bring up the subject with your elementary-aged child? “I would say the sooner the better,” replies Myriam Day Asselin. According to her, this shows the child that his parent is open to discussing this subject and that he can turn to him if he has questions. “It’s not true that talking about it will encourage him to use. On the contrary, it sharpens his critical judgment and therefore, perhaps even discourages the young person from trying it, ”argues the spokesperson for Tel-Jeunes. However, the discussion must be adapted to the level of understanding of the child. And regardless of the age at which the subject is first brought up, it is good to revisit it periodically. “Just because we asked the question once when her teenager was in 1st grade doesn’t mean we shouldn’t ask it again three or four months later. A young person evolves so quickly that his positions can change, ”says Annie Papageorgiou.
In Quebec, one in five teenagers vapes, according to the National Institute of Public Health of Quebec. In some places, it is even easy for people under 18 to get vaping products, an article in La Presse recently demonstrated. If your teen is one of these stats and you want them to quit, what can you do? Myriam Day Asselin believes in listening to your child, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t set limits. “Young people need a framework,” she says. Don’t want your youngster vaping at home? At school ? We tell him so while explaining the reasons behind this rule, suggests Myriam Day Asselin. The teenager may try to get around it, she warns, however, because at this age, “it’s normal to go outside to experiment”.
Addiction, shortness of breath: Some effects of vaping are felt quickly by young people, says Annie Papageorgiou. So much so that about one in two teenagers who vape want to quit. How can we accompany him on his journey? The encouragement of those around you can be very beneficial, believes the general manager of the CQTS. In particular, we can highlight small victories, such as a smoke-free evening. Getting him to change his routine can also contribute to a change in habits. Created for young people, the “Brise l’illusion” site presents various resources to help you quit vaping.