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Close up of a person smoking an e-cigarette

Talking to your Teen about e-Cigarette Use

By Bernadette Lamotte, CPNP, Suffolk Pediatrics

The use of e-cigarettes is rising in popularity among teens. A recent study shows almost 1 in 4 high school students reported using electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) in 2015. Flavors like peach schnapps, java jolt, bubble gum and so on are appealing to children. Unlike traditional cigarettes, children and teens are exposed to ENDS advertising on TV, radio, social media, magazines and billboards. And, while it’s illegal to sell ENDS to anyone under the age of 18, many teens are able to buy ENDS online.

Talk to your teen about the dangers of ENDS like e-cigarettes, personal vaporizers, vape pens, e-cigars and other vaping devices. The following tips may help you start the conversation.

Know the Facts

  • Learn as much as you can about the dangers of e-cigarette use and the different terms associated with vaping.
  • E-cigarettes may contain nicotine, which is highly addictive and has been proven to affect memory and concentration.
  • Even without nicotine, e-cigarettes contain chemicals that are harmful when they are inhaled. The cloud of vapor that is exhaled can also be harmful to breathe in.
  • E-cigarette batteries can explode and have caused injuries.
  • ENDS solutions can poison children and adults if swallowed or absorbed through the skin. A child can be killed by less than a teaspoon.


Avoid criticism and encourage your teen to share their thoughts. It shouldn’t be a lecture. Allow the conversation to flow naturally. Wait until you both see someone vaping or you notice something that would spark the conversation naturally.

Ask for Support

If you’re not sure where to begin, ask your pediatrician to talk to your teen about the risks associated with e-cigarette use. You can also ask other trusted adults like relatives, neighbors, or coaches to help reinforce the dangers of e-cigarette use.

Parents, healthcare providers, teachers and others should work together to reinforce the dangers associated with tobacco use and nicotine addiction.

Parents should restrict e-cigarette use around their children, ensure their child’s school and home is tobacco-free, and above all, be an example. Even if you’re trying to quit using tobacco yourself, share the reasons why you want to be tobacco-free and ask for support.

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About CHKD Medical Group

About CHKD Medical  Group Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters has been the region’s most trusted name in pediatric care for more than 50 years. As members of CHKD Health System, our pediatricians work closely with CHKD’s full range of pediatric specialists and surgeons. They also share a commitment to quality, excellence and child-centered care. With 18 practices in 29 locations throughout the region, a CHKD pediatrician is never far.