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Supporting Cook County Youth to Quit Vaping: Tips and Resources

Mar 20, 2024 08:46AM ● By Content Editor
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By Andrea Orest - Cook County Public Health & Human Services - March 20, 2024

It can be frightening if you suspect or find out your child is vaping (using e-cigarettes). The most important thing you can do is to confront it. But what is the best way to talk to kids about vaping?

During adolescence, the brain goes through many changes and is not fully developed until a person reaches their mid-20s. This means that vaping can damage a youth’s brain in the long term, potentially causing learning difficulties and health problems into adulthood.

As with every important conversation, it’s best to take some time to prepare. Before you confront your loved one and have the conversation, take a deep breath, plan out your discussion points, and think about the possible “why” behind their use.  The Center for Disease Control has a Tipsheet for Parents with information on talking with youth about e-cigarettes.

It is important to get in the right frame of mind. Whether you are planning to discuss vaping, marijuana, or other substance use, the following are keys to setting the stage for an effective conversation:

  • Keep an open mind. When a child feels judged or condemned, they will be less receptive to the message. Try to project objectivity and openness.

  • Put yourself in your kid’s shoes. How would you prefer to be addressed when speaking about a difficult topic? Try to remember how you felt as a teen.

  • Be calm and relaxed. Approaching the conversation with anger or panic will make it harder to achieve your goals.

  • Be positive. Approaching the situation with shame, anger, or scare tactics will be counterproductive. Present yourself as curious, respectful, and understanding.

  • Don’t lecture. It will most likely lead to shutting down, tuning you out, anger, or worse.

  • Find a comfortable setting. Announcing a sit-down meeting will likely be met with resistance, while a more spontaneous, casual approach will lower anxiety (including your own).

  • Be aware of body language. Finger-pointing and crossed arms are closed gestures, while uncrossed legs and a relaxed posture are more open.

  • Be clear about your goals. Know what you want to get from the conversation. 

  • Offer empathy and compassion. Let your child know you understand. Acknowledge that everyone struggles sometimes.

  • Remind your child that you are there for support and guidance – and that it’s important to you that she or he is healthy and happy and makes safe choices.

  • If your child is suffering, reassure them that you will seek out appropriate professional help and then follow through.

Visit the Parent/Guardian Resource Page on My Life My Quit and contact your healthcare provider for help with support, education, and treatment options, including nicotine replacement therapy. 

  • Sawtooth Mountain Clinic: 218-387-2330

  • Grand Portage Health Services: 218-475-2235

For youth looking for support, asking for help can be scary, especially if you fear punishment.  Reach out to a trusted adult – a parent, teacher, family friend, a parent of a friend – for help navigating the winding road of recovery.  Another resource available is My Life My Quit.  Their coaches can talk you through ways to ask for help, and even practice what to say beforehand.  The more support you have, the better your chances are of meeting your goal. Any youth ages 13 or older can text “start” to 36072 or visit to get started.  

For more information, contact Andrea Orest, Cook County Public Health, at 218-220-5536 or [email protected] 

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