School-age kids are using vaping devices at an alarming rate. According to a 2020 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 5 high school-age kids now say that they use e-cigarettes, and many falsely believe the products are safe. Driving their popularity is a discreet and high-tech look. To make things worse, they can deliver much higher concentrations of addictive nicotine than regular cigarettes, leading to a new generation of addicted tobacco users. 

Understanding why young people are using vaping products points to the critical role parents, teachers, and school administrators play in the health and well-being of their students. Influential adults are responsible for providing students support and information to stay vape-free or the tools to quit if they are already vaping. Unfortunately, according to a Truth Initiative study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine near the start of the epidemic, fewer than half – 44.2% ­– of parents could identify a picture of JUUL (the most popular vaping device at the time) as a type of e-cigarette. More than one-third couldn’t recognize the device at all.

So, what can educators and parents do? Check out these five great resources on the latest in vaping prevention and quit resources

1. Read “5 Things You Need to Know About Youth Vaping

In this Our Children article, the Truth Initiative teamed up with National Parent–Teacher Association to offer parents and schools the most important information about youth vaping and nicotine. From the physical and mental health risks of vaping to how tobacco companies use flavors to draw youth to tobacco products — it’s chock-full of relevant research and free resources.

2. Download the Vaping Lingo Dictionary: A guide to popular terms and devices

From words like “ghost” and “ripski” to devices resembling USB flash drives, the youth vaping epidemic has introduced several terms, phrases, and discreet devices that can make it difficult for adults to keep up. The resource lists popular words, phrases, products, and general language used to refer to vaping/e-cigarette use and can help parents and educators stay up to date with the latest terminology.

3. Use our free curriculums

Our resources for teachers page includes two free curriculums. The first is a new digital experience designed for students grades 8-12 — it’s self-led, interactive, and educates students on the dangers of using e-cigarettes. The second is a Stanford Medicine-developed curriculum that provides teachers, parents, and kids with information on e-cigarettes. We also provide links to other resources for parents and teachers seeking additional information on how to talk to children about vaping and smoking.

4. Visit Start Talking Now

In this online resource from our Washington State Department of Health partners, parents and caregivers learn how to talk to young people about vaping and other substances. Sneak peek: Bond. Set Boundaries and Monitor.

5. Get the facts

To help children make smart choices regarding vaping, and with so much misinformation, it’s vital for parents and teachers to stay current and get the facts from reliable sources.

The Washington state’s Tobacco and Vapor Products Data and Reports includes the latest data on tobacco and vapor product use rates in our state, including its health and economic burden. And the Healthy Youth Survey is designed to deliver crucial information about the prevalence of major adolescent health risk behaviors to parents, school officials, public health professionals, human services agencies, policymakers, and the public.

Finally… There is hope

According to the American Lung Association, cigarette smoking rates have fallen significantly and consistently for youths and adults in recent years. So, there is hope that rates for vaping can head in this direction too.

Parents, teachers, and school administrators have all the necessary tools at their disposal to influence their kids’ tobacco and vaping perceptions and behaviors. It’s up to all of us to do our part and put these tools to good use. 

Originally published on 9/12/2022