Vaping is generally understood to be less risky than smoking. But not vaping is healthier than vaping - even for a generation of teens whose cigarette use is at a 40-year low. So how do we have successful conversations with teenagers about the hazards of e-cigarettes? Here’s a guide to how you might address vaping — or almost any other form of risky business — with the teenagers in your life..."
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Research consistently finds that having good information doesn’t necessarily lead to making smart choices. We need to do more than drop knowledge.
Get Their Perspective
Instead of leading with facts, consider starting with genuine curiosity.
Ask Why Before Suggesting Why Not
Adolescents have their reasons for vaping.
Share Your Concerns
Teenagers can be quick to tune out adults - e-cigarettes are certainly less harmful than illegal drugs, but not without risks.
Concede the Limits of Your Power
Try a two-pronged approach, articulating high expectations in one breath and acknowledging the limits of their power in the next. “Vaping isn’t harmless,” one might say, “so I hope you will steer clear of it. That said, I don’t have the power to make this choice for you. It’s something you’ll decide for yourself.”
There is hope: Adolescents care what their parents think and take fewer risks when we keep the lines of communication open. In discussing dicey choices with adolescents, there are many ways to get it right. And one of those ways is to be sure that we are talking with, not at, them.
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