In this article I will discuss:
- Our experience with vaping
- Stuff you may not know about vaping
- Signs that your teenager may be vaping
According to a 2018 Surgeon General Advisory note, 1 in 5 high schoolers and 1 in 20 middle school children vape. I speak from experience when I say you will not know. You may know something is not right but you cannot smell nicotine from a vape pen. It is that parent gut instinct that kicked in for me and I just knew something was not right with my son.
We started educating my son as soon as he knew what drugs where. My brother battled drug addiction so I was able to teach my son about the dangers from a different perspective. However, watching my brother struggle was not enough of a lesson for my son and he decided to not only start vaping nicotine but he also tried alcohol and marijuana.
At this point, I had no idea what was going on so I called the school and spoke with the social worker. If you suspect something is not right with your child, please reach out to the school social worker or a counselor. This will provide your child with a safe place to open up about their struggles.
My son was talking to the counselor for a couple of months before we found all the vape pens, pods, beer bottles, and a vial of marijuana in his room. My son’s hiding places were not very good and if I would have cleaned his room routinely, I would have found out sooner. My husband and I joke that our son sucked at finding hiding places but I am thankful for this! I know I cannot beat myself up for not knowing sooner, I am grateful I discovered the problem so we could work on a solution.
Here is a picture of everything we found.
Stuff You May Not Know About Vaping
Once we found out and a couple months went by, my son started opening up to me. Here is some stuff we did not know about vaping:
- You can take the lid off the vape pod and replace it with whatever liquid you want to vape. This is scary because teenagers sell pods to make money. Knowing this could be replaced with an unknown liquid that could cause harm to your teenager freaks me out. I had a conversation with my son and discussed some recent stories in the news. One, in particular, was about a teenager smoking an unknown substance that turned out to be fentanyl and killed him right away.
- Teens can take cotton or the end of a q-tip and roll the cotton in small balls. They then put the cotton in the vape pod. The vape juice is absorbed in the cotton and extends the life of the liquid in the pod. Teens do this because they do not have money and need to have each vape pod last as long as possible.
- Have Capella concentrated flavoring for water in your home? May want to think about throwing it away or hiding it. Why? Because teenagers use the flavoring to make liquid to refill vape pods. Yup, crazy right! You can purchase liquid nicotine for a vape pen from Amazon and then mix the flavoring with the nicotine. Homemade vape.
- Vape pens use a USB to charge. You may have walked into your teen’s room and saw a small USB charging and never thought twice about this being what charged a vape device. The Juul is the most popular device, pictured below with a vape pod. My son found this on the bus and it became his back-up device.
- Teens can purchase items to hide their vape paraphernalia. A popular one is a shaving cream container. Looks like shaving cream but when you unscrew the bottom, it becomes a great hiding place.
Signs your teen may be vaping or doing drugs:
- They keep their bedroom window open. While you cannot smell nicotine you vape, there is a smell with marijuana (as most of us know). It is a different smell from a vape pen but if you do not smoke you can smell it when you walk in a room.
- Changes in mood. My son would stay in his room and not participate in family functions.
- Your teen is hanging around new friends.
- Grades go downhill and your teen does not care.
- When you reach out to teachers, they say your teen is not paying attention or zoning out in class.
- Lack of interest in other activities.
- Sleeping more
- Signs that point to your teen hiding something from you.
As parents, we know when something is not right with our children. Don’t accuse your child of doing something if you are not sure. Educate your child and watch for signs they may need to talk to someone.
Have more tips. Comment and let us know what you have learned about this topic.