Social Distancing Gives Working Parents Insight into Kids’ Vaping
With schools closed and stay-at-home orders in full swing due to COVID-19, youth who vape have fewer places to hide their vaping behavior from their parents.
For many parents now working remotely, the distracting smell of menthol or other flavors from their child vaping in or around the house may catch them off-guard. They may also notice mood swings, agitation, impulsivity, and an inability to concentrate from their child using nicotine or dealing with cravings or withdrawal.
Indeed, a silver lining to this quarantine might be the golden opportunity this gives parents to talk to their kids about vaping and help them break the harmful behavior.
Just how prevalent is youth vaping?
According to the 2019 National Youth Tobacco survey, 27.5% of high school and 10.5% of middle school students use e-cigarettes, with 21% of high schoolers vaping on a near daily basis. Vaping among 8th, 10th, and 12th graders has more than doubled since 2017.
Some parents may wonder whether vaping puts their child at increased risk for COVID-19 or for experiencing more serious symptoms.
Here is what we know. The data are early in terms of the specific impacts of COVID-19 on people using tobacco. However, there is conclusive evidence that smoking weakens the immune system and increases the risk of infectious diseases and respiratory infections. There is also growing evidence that vaping can harm lung health.
This is why we believe it is more important than ever for young people to stop using all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, to protect their health. To help kids successfully quit, parents can play an important supportive role.
Reduced access and nicotine withdrawal
Working parents confined to their home with their teen may soon be seeing their child go through nicotine withdrawal, as many experience reduced access to e-cigarettes or vaping supplies.
Youth who had used a vaping product called JUUL in the past 30 days reported that they got it in one or more ways, including:
- Physical retail locations: The most common way youth got JUUL is through physical retail locations. Nearly three quarters—74 percent—of youth said that they obtained JUUL at a store or retail outlet.
- Social sources: Just over half—52 percent—reported that they received JUUL from a social source, such as a friend or family member.
With access to retail stores and social sources limited in the current environment, nicotine withdrawal may be a reality sooner than later for youth who vape.