Raising Awareness Around Vaping
Vaping, or the act of inhaling a vaporized liquid from an electronic smoking device, is becoming an epidemic across the country. Teenagers are picking up BLU cigarettes, JUULs, and other vaping devices for a multitude of reasons and ending up addicted to nicotine. Whether teenagers are interested because they see their friends vaping, enjoy the flavors, or think it looks cool, it’s detrimental to their health and wellbeing.
There is a common misperception that vaping is safer than smoking because vaporizers do not contain the hundreds of chemicals found in the tobacco leaves and filters of cigarettes. However, research is showing that this is not the case. The vapor is infused with propylene glycol, flavoring chemicals, and nicotine. A person who vapes, just like a person who smokes cigarettes, becomes dependent on the nicotine within the product.
Some vaporizer liquids do not contain nicotine, but most do. In fact, JUUL is the most popular brand of e-cigarettes and 100% of their “pods” contain nicotine. While it is marketed as a smoking cessation device to help adults kick the smelly habit of smoking traditional cigarettes, the marketing is also targeting teenagers. Until they were reprimanded by the FDA, JUUL had a highly engaging presence on Instagram, a social media platform mainly used by teenagers. And still, to this day, the design and packaging of the JUUL is sleek, “sexy”, and appealing to easily influenced teens.
More worrisome than the design and accessibility of the JUUL, and other vapes, is the discreetness of them. Unlike traditional cigarettes that come in a large pack and carry a lasting odor with them after they’re smoked, vapes are discreet in size and omit no odor. This makes it much harder for parents, teachers, and other adults to recognize when their teenager is vaping.
The RAVE Program
According to research reported in the Wall Street Journal, vaping rates among teenagers jumped 75% in 2018. Alarmed by this increase, Mark Neese, principal therapist at True North Counseling in Louisville, KY, has decided to raise awareness around the dangers associated with this behavior by introducing a special program. RAVE: Reduce Adolescent Vaping Education, is a 4 to 6-week program that combines individual, group, and family therapy with education to ensure that parents are able to act as change agents in the lives of their teenagers. Teens enrolled in RAVE will attend 4 weekly group sessions that are facilitated by two certified clinicians. True North Counseling’s certified clinicians include one behavioral specialist and one social worker who will provide up-to-date information about the dangers of vaping and smoking. Each session will feature a strong Mindfulness component as well.
In addition to the four group sessions, a family session will kick off the program and three individual sessions are also included with the goal of enlisting a commitment from the teen to stop vaping. During this process, parents are given strategies for relapse prevention including the use of Nicotine Test Kits. Nicotine can stay in your system for up to three months depending on the frequency of use. When used randomly by parents and guardians, nicotine testing proves effective in deterring teenagers from continuing to vape. Nicotine Test Kits will be provided to the parents or guardians who participate in the RAVE program, so they can test their teenagers as frequently or infrequently as they’d like.
Tips for Parents & Guardians
If you are a parent, guardian, or adult concerned that a teenager you know may be vaping, the first thing to do is talk to them. Ask them if they feel they are dependent on the device or if they feel agitated when they are not doing it. Discuss the risks of vaping including what’s known and not known about the long-term effects. Make sure that they understand vaping is just as bad for them as cigarettes, but with different effects and different results.
If you’ve already talked to them and still suspect that they are vaping, let True North Counseling in Louisville, Kentucky help. With the new RAVE program available at True North Counseling, parents or guardians can work with their teenager and True North Counseling’s certified clinicians to help teens stop vaping. As a team, everyone will come up with a strategy to quit vaping, prevent relapse, and stay mindful of the dangers associated with vaping and the benefits, both short-term and long-term, of not vaping.
To learn more about the dangers of vaping, read our past blogs on teen vaping and vaping facts. True North Counseling’s first RAVE program begins on July 11, 2019. For program costs and enrollment those interested in learning more can contact Henry L. Buckwalter, CSW, an Associate Clinician at True North Counseling, by calling 502-377-4814 today.