Are you a teen or young adult who wants to avoid vaping, yet it seems like all your friends are doing it and you are feeling the pressure? Or maybe you are a parent who wants to help your son or daughter avoid vaping. We’ve all read plenty about the possible health implications of vaping so don’t need to go there in this article, but what we do need is more strategies to help those who don’t want to vape but are feeling the pressure.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 38% of high school students and 13% of middle school students have tried vaping (CDC Vital Signs, February 2019). It may seem like everybody is vaping and you may feel pressure by friends to vape. What do you do if you don’t want to vape but feel pressured by friends? A great strategy for handling peer pressure is thinking through conversations you might have with friends about vaping before those conversations occur and deciding how you will respond. Examples include:
Friend: “Come on, everybody is vaping.”
Response: “Everybody doesn’t vape. I know plenty of people who don’t vape and I don’t want to be one that starts.”
Friend: “I thought we were friends. If you really were my friend, you would want to hang out with me and do the same stuff I do.”
Response: “I am your friend and I do want to hang out with you, but we don’t have to do all of the same stuff. I want to hang out, but don’t want to vape.”
Friend: “Vaping is really cool, and there are so many great flavors. Why don’t you just try it and see for yourself?”
Response: “I don’t think it’s cool. People who study vaping say it can cause major health problems including messing with your brain’s development and you can get addicted to it. That’s not cool.”
To learn more about vaping, visit https://teen.smokefree.gov/ and educate yourself so you can be knowledgeable when friends may try to pressure you in to vaping. Talk with your parents, teacher, or doctor or another trusted adult if you need help. And think through what kinds of things YOUR friends might say to try and convince you to start vaping and prepare your responses in advance. You can do this!
Do you know someone who is already vaping and wants to quit OR who smokes and wants to quit? This week is the Great American Smokeout. This year’s event is on Thursday, November 21st and is always held on the third Thursday in November. If you or someone you know is already using tobacco and wants to quit, start preparing and make a quit plan today at CDC.gov/quit or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW for help. #GASO
Feature Image from www.pexels.com, courtesy of Thorn Yang