By Dan Fahrbach –

The health risks of vaping are in the news. But the big story is that vaping products are crushing it among children and young adults: 23 percent of 11th-graders use nicotine e-cigarettes versus just 3 percent of adults age 25 and older according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And in Oregon youth vaping of marijuana has increased 295 percent — from 11 percent to 44 percent among 11th-graders using marijuana — between 2017 and 2019, even as 11th-grade overall marijuana use stayed constant at 20 percent in a recent report from the Oregon Healthy Teens survey of middle- and high-school students that Oregon Health Authority administers every two years.

“This is alarming,” said Dean Sidelinger, MD at OHA. “It confirms what we’ve long known: Vaping is putting a new generation at risk for addiction. These products can get young people started on using nicotine and marijuana, and it is easy to get hooked.”

So what can you do when a 11 billion dollar industry is doing everything it can to hook teens on “legal” drugsAs a relative caregiver, you may be their best defense. Here are some of the most effective ways experts say can steer your kids away from vaping:

  • Maintain a dialogue. Start early — begin talking with your kids about smoking and vaping as early as kindergarten. Listen and try to see things from your child’s point of view.
  • Learn enough to know what you might be dealing with. “Juuling” often happens at school. See the link to more information below.
  • Be aware that products are available online, including instructions for making “vape juice” at home.
  • Prepare your kids for peer pressure. Discuss what they might say if a friend e-cigarette.
  • Set a good example. If you smoke or vape, the best thing you can do is quit. At the very least, don’t smoke around your children! Nicotine also affects the development of brain circuits that control attention and learning
  • Make an iron-clad rule: No smoking in this house.
  • If you think your child has started smoking or vaping, try to learn why. Talk and mentoring will probably be more effective in preventing addiction than punishment. For one thing, vaping is very easy to conceal.

To become better informed, we recommend this easy-to-understand website “Know the Risks:  E-cigarettes and Young People.”  Click here. For instance, are you aware that vaping manufacturers design their devices to look like USB drives (thumb drives)? And if you think vaping includes those clouds of smoke you see here and there….Nope, not necessarily.