Twelve Talks to

Have With Teens

Vape & Tobacco

Vaping is a problem across the country and continues to be prevalent here in Colorado. The good news is that the 2019 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey (HKCS) shows that the majority of Jeffco youth realize that vaping is harmful, and over half of youth who vape report wanting to quit! Keep reading to learn how you can talk to the young person in your life about vaping and tobacco use, and how to support them in quitting or never starting in the first place. 

  • ​While fewer youth are smoking cigarettes, the rapidly growing popularity of vaping devices is undoing decades of declining youth tobacco use. According to the 2019 HKCS data, 26 percent of Jeffco high school students currently use vaping products, compared to 4.1 percent who use cigarettes and 5.2 percent who use cigars, chewing tobacco, hookah, or bidis. 

  • Youth who use electronic cigarettes (vaping devices) are four times more likely to smoke traditional cigarettes in the future.

  • Vape companies target youth through sleek designs, social media advertising and thousands of appealing candy/fruit-like flavors. Many youth cite appealing flavors as the number one reason why they vape.

​​

  • Vaping devices are marketed to youth as being stealthy and something you can do anywhere at any time, even in the bathroom or classroom in school. They can be disguised in hoodies, as key fobs, in mint tins, etc. It’s important to remember that stealth vaping culture is heavily marketed to youth by the tobacco industry.
     

  • Jefferson County high school students have easy access to vape and tobacco products. Due to lack of regulation compared to other tobacco products (like cigarettes needing to be kept behind the counter), vape products can, and often are, placed in self-service displays at eye level for younger youth or right next to candy and snacks.

What do you think about addiction? What do you know about nicotine being addictive?


 

  • Vaping is highly addictive. The pods for JUULs (one of the most popular vaping device brands among teens) contain nicotine 100 percent of the time. The amount of nicotine in one JUUL pod is equivalent to an entire pack of cigarettes, making vape juice highly addictive.
     

  • The teen years are when long-term habit forming takes place. Introducing an addictive substance, like nicotine, into this development can potentially lead to permanent alterations in brain chemistry and make the brain more vulnerable to other forms of addiction in the future.

  • Vaping, like smoking, is dangerous to lung health. According to the CDC, smoking puts people at higher risk for complications related to COVID-19.  Additionally, our nation was in the midst of a multistate outbreak of E-cigarette, or Vaping, Product Use Associated Lung Injury (EVAL) when the coronavirus pandemic struck. Click here for up-to-date information on CDC research. 

Hear from Jeffco Public Schools about data and research related to vaping and tobacco use, and learn how you can offer support to your teen.  (3:30)

Conversation Starters

  • If you see an ad pop up on social media, show to your teen, then use it as an opportunity to ask questions.

 

  • When you are in the car, you are very likely to drive past a vape store. Point it out to start a conversation.
     

  • Ask your teen if they have ever seen videos about vaping or smoking. Ask to if they will show you one-- and then discuss how those videos subtly (or not so subtly) promote use.

  • Ask if anyone they know has ever been caught vaping at school. Or ask if they have ever seen other people vaping at school.

 

  • Talk with your teen about the consequences of tobacco use. How do they think using these products could impact their future? 

Ask Yourself

  • How many youth are actually vaping? Youth vaping has become prominent because of how it is perceived as “normalized,” which is a result of increased product accessibility to teens and the tobacco industry targeting adolescents. Because of this, many teens believe that “everyone vapes,” when in reality 26% of Jefferson County youth report currently using e-cigarettes.

 

 

  • Would I recognize a vape if I saw one? Vaping or e-cigarette devices come in all sorts of different shapes and sizes. Familiarize yourself with what these products look like. Some of the most popular are the JUUL and the Sourin.

 

  • Do youth in my life know how I feel about selling or giving vape or tobacco to others? Let your teen know what your values are about "plugs" selling addictive and harmful substances, particularly to younger kids.

Resources & Help

mom daughter selfie.jpg
  • Familiarize yourself with your school’s Tobacco Free School (TFS) Policy. Make sure you and your teen both know and understand the consequences for being caught with these devices. Find Jeffco Public Schools’ TFS Policy here

 

  • Let your youth know what your family, team or organization rules and values are about smoking and vaping. Also, let them know you are not okay with their friends vaping and smoking in your car or home.

Help

  • Starting the Conversation on Vaping: Free workshop led by Tobacco-Free Jeffco on how to talk to young people about vaping. For parents/guardians, teachers, coaches, mentors, law enforcement and anyone else who works with youth. Click here for upcoming workshops

 

  • If you or your teen is smoking or vaping and would like help quitting, visit Tobacco-Free Jeffco for a list of free resources that are designed for teens who are ready to quit.

Rules & Boundaries

  • The legal age to purchase tobacco products is now 21. 

  • Familiarize yourself with your school’s Tobacco Free School (TFS) Policy. Make sure you and your teen both know and understand the consequences for being caught with these devices. Find Jeffco Public Schools’ TFS Policy here

  • Let your youth know what your family, team or organization rules and values are about smoking and vaping.

  • Also, let them know you are not okay with their friends vaping and smoking in your car or home.

Equity & Inclusion

  • The tobacco industry has a history of targeting marginalized populations, thus causing higher rates of tobacco use and addiction, often leading to worse health outcomes within those communities.

  • Targeting youth and minority populations with flavored tobacco is a key strategy of the tobacco industry. For example, 85% of all African Americans who smoke use menthol cigarettes, including 7 in 10 African American youth. Two videos from the truth initiative about this are Black Lives/Black Lungs and Read Between the Lies.

  • Tobacco is a social justice issue because the tobacco industry has used its power to lure and addict the historically oppressed to its deadly products.   The tobacco industry has historically targeted African Americans and other marginalized populations, thus creating significant health disparities among those populations.

Take Action in Your Community

Ask your local city council what they’re doing to protect youth from tobacco. For example:

  • Will you eliminate the tasty incentives for teens to begin using harmful and addictive flavored tobacco products by enacting a local policy that restricts the sale of flavored tobacco products?

  • Does our city have a local tobacco retail ordinance to reduce illegal sales to minors? Retailers are responsible for establishing policies, procedures, and training to stop employees from selling vape products to kids. Public Health operatives in Jefferson County have programs to stop retailers from selling vape products to kids  by doing undercover visits to stores and issuing fines. If a retailer is caught, the store owner can be fined.

  • Does our city denormalize tobacco use and protect the public’s right to clean air with a strong local smoke-free and vapor-free policy?

Subscribe to Our Monthly Newsletter
Please check any that discribe you:

* Healthy Kids Colorado Survey 2019, Jefferson County data; **Jefferson County CTC Youth Town Hall data 2019 & 2020.

 

This project was created by the Jefferson County Communities That Care coalition and is housed within Jefferson County Public HealthThis resource was developed with funding from a Communities That Care grant from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, a grant from Community First Foundation and a Drug-Free Communities grant from the Office of National Drug Control Policy and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The views, policies and opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the grant providers.