Know how to have real conversation with your teens, not just talking to them.  

Step 1: Build confidence and have “back-pocket knowledge” about vaping and its effects

  • Nicotine is the chemical found in smoking and vaping products that is responsible for addiction.
  • Most teens who smoke or vape tobacco products will become addicted to nicotine and this increases the risk for future addiction to other drugs.
  • Nicotine addiction can cause cravings and irritability. It can increase the likelihood of becoming a lifelong smoker.
  • “Vape” is not harmless “water vapor” but contains over 60 known dangerous chemicals including volatile compounds, ultrafine particles, nickel, tin, lead, and flavoring such as diacetyl, which are all linked to serious lung disease.
  • Teens who vape may have more anxiety, trouble concentrating, reduced athletic performance, and other symptoms.

Step 2: Know how to recognize vaping products

Step 3: Use casual dialogue and try to understand why they started vaping

Talking doesn’t have to be at the kitchen table. Avoid anxiety-causing dialogue like, “We need to talk tonight.” When teens are stressed out, their ability to learn, create, be empathetic or reflect on their values diminish. Try organic, side-by-side conversations for casual dialogue. Have these conversations in the car, on the couch, while getting ready, or cooking dinner. Teens may have tried vaping for a number of reasons. Understanding the WHY behind it may allow you to see the ROOT of the problem. 

Try not to use yes or no questions. Your teen will have more room to share their personal thoughts and ideas with open-ended questions.

  • Why do you think someone would use?
  • What makes vaping products so appealing?
  • What have you heard about the safety of these products?
  • What do you and your friends think about vaping?
  • What kind of chemicals are in these products?
  • What questions do you have any these products?

Step 4:  Practice active listening, have patience, and do not give up

Studies show many teens want to talk about this topic, whether they have just seen vaping products or have used them before. You will probably not like everything you hear. Allow your teen to speak freely before adding input. Trust is gained when someone feels heard and comfortable. Prepare for a back-and-forth conversation with your teen. And it’s okay to talk in pieces. Conversations don’t have to be an hour. You can use one conversation to plant seeds for future conversations. 

For free quit resources for your teens, click here.  

Talking to your teens and young adults about smoking and vaping can be difficult. For tips on how to start the conversation, download our guide

Watch our video below:

Learn about vaping products.

Other helpful resources:

For Youth and Young Adult Quit Smoking/Vaping Resources click here.


Follow us on Facebook @vcctobacco for resources, information, local, state and national tobacco-related news and upcoming events and trainings

Follow us on Instagram @sdstayinformed to stay up-to-date on VCC Tobacco Control events, news and facts