Vapor cigarettes and vaporizers are becoming increasingly popular in North America, and some would say they're almost hitting the mainstream. Estimates from the Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association state that there are at least 4 million people in the United States who are regular users of vaping products. The $2.5 billion industry has grown considerably over the past decade, and vaporizers have become so prevalent in society that a $250 model was included in this year's Oscar gift bags for Hollywood's A-listers.
But vapor cigarettes and related accessories are not without controversy. Just north of the border in Canada, parents of elementary and middle school students at the École Massey School in Regina, Saskatchewan, received letters home warning parents not to let their children bring vaporizers to school. Just as smoking is not allowed by youngsters at the school, neither is vaping with electronic cigarette products and it is punishable by suspension.
"The type of vaporizer that is readily available to students are fruit flavored vaporizers," says a notice on the school's website. "Although these vaporizers are recommended only for adults, they are available and sold to our young students. Please have a discussion with your children about this new rule and the possible health consequences of these vaporizers."
While most adults understand how to use rechargeable electronic cigarettes properly, teens are beginning to use the devices at an alarming rate. If the letter from École Massey School officials is anything to go by, their use is even spreading to younger children in grade 8 and below.
Even more worrying is that sales of vapor cigarettes
online are often not age-restricted, giving teens everywhere more access to these products. A study from the University of North Carolina found that of 98 attempted e-cig purchases by teenagers working with the research team at least 75 were successful. With 466 electronic cigarette brands and more than 7,700 vaping flavors for sale today, this gives children several options for where to buy their products, even if Mom and Dad don't have them sitting around the house.
So what can parents do to discourage and prevent their children from using vaping products? Here are a few methods to try:
1. Talk to kids about vaping:
Many children are curious about vaping products because they often contain chocolate or fruit flavors, and they may mistake the devices for candy. Just as parents will tell their children about the dangers of smoking, parents who vape should remind their kids that electronic cigarettes are for adult use only.
2. Keep products out of children's reach:
Students who brought vaping devices to school in Regina likely took them from their parents. These devices and e liquids should be kept away from children, so they can't use these products or get caught taking them to school. Additionally, some children may accidentally ingest the e liquid, which could be dangerous, so this should also be kept on a high shelf or otherwise hidden.
3. Vape away from impressionable kids:
When it comes to children, it's often a game of "monkey see, monkey do" emulating adults. Parents who don't want to encourage their children to try e-cigarettes should stick to vaping when the kids aren't around or have gone to bed.
Have you talked to your children about vaping? How have you handled these situations? Tell us in the comments.