Symptoms of Vaping in Adolescents

Discover how to spot symptoms of vaping in adolescents and guide your child towards healthier habits.

James Ekbatani
June 23, 2024

Spotting Vaping in Teens

Catching your kid vaping can feel like finding a needle in a haystack. Those sneaky e-cigs make it tough, but knowing what to look for can help you step in early.

What to Look For

Here are some telltale signs your teen might be vaping:

  • Clearing their throat a lot or coughing
  • Getting winded easily
  • Smelling sweet or fruity scents that seem out of place
  • Drinking more water because vaping dries out their mouth
  • Nosebleeds from dry nasal passages
  • Suddenly avoiding coffee or soda, since vaping can mess with caffeine tolerance
  • Finding odd wrappers or small pods that could be vape gear

These clues come from studies in journals like the New England Journal of Medicine and JAMA Pediatrics. For a deeper dive, check out our article on vaping signs in teens.

Behavior Shifts

Vaping doesn't just leave physical traces. It can change how your teen acts, too:

  • Mood swings, irritability, or feeling down
  • New friends who might also be vaping
  • Acting secretive or wanting more alone time
  • Slipping grades or losing interest in hobbies
  • Asking for more money, since vaping isn't cheap

These behaviors were noted in a study from Substance Use & Misuse. Keep in mind, these changes might also be due to stress or just growing up. So, talking openly with your teen is key. Learn more about spotting vaping in kids in our detailed guide.

Catching vaping early can help you nip it in the bud. If you think your kid's vaping, approach them with care and consider getting professional help. More tips on how to handle teen vaping are available on our site.

Physical Symptoms of Vaping

Spotting the signs of vaping in teens can be tricky, but knowing what to look for can make all the difference. Here’s a rundown of the physical symptoms that might tip you off.

Breathing Problems

Breathing issues are a big red flag. Teens who vape often deal with coughing, shortness of breath, and wheezing. The "Impact of E-Cigarette Use on Respiratory Symptoms in Adolescents" study from the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine highlights these symptoms. If your kid’s hacking away or struggling to catch their breath, it might be time to dig deeper.

The Journal of Adolescent Health also points out that vaping can cause chronic bronchitis-like symptoms. So, if your teen’s got a nagging cough that just won’t quit, it’s worth considering if vaping is the culprit.

Strange Smells

Vaping doesn’t come with the usual smoky smell of cigarettes, but it does have its own set of odors. E-cigarettes and vape pens use flavored liquids that can leave behind sweet or fruity scents. According to the "Characterization of Vaping-Related Odors in Adolescents" study in the Journal of Pediatrics, you might notice these unusual smells on your kid’s clothes, in their room, or on their breath.

Teens are pretty good at covering their tracks, though. They might use perfumes or air fresheners to mask these scents. The "Odor Perception and E-Cigarette Use in Teens" study in the Journal of Adolescent Research found that teens who vape often use more of these odor-masking products.

What to Do Next

If you’re spotting these signs, it’s time to have a chat with your teen and maybe get some professional advice. For more tips on spotting vaping and what to do about it, check out our pages on detecting vaping in kids and interventions for adolescent vaping. And for a deeper dive into the signs of vaping, visit our signs of vaping in teenagers page.

Social and Emotional Clues

Spotting the social and emotional signs of vaping can help parents catch potential issues early. These clues often show up as changes in friend groups or unexpected mood swings.

Changes in Friend Groups

If your kid suddenly starts hanging out with a new crowd and drifts away from their old friends, it might be a red flag. Teens often pick friends who share their habits. So, if the new crew is into vaping, there's a chance your child might be too.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse says teens are more likely to try substances if their friends are doing it [1]. So, if your kid's new friends are known for vaping, it's worth paying attention. For more tips on spotting vaping, check out our guide on detecting vaping in kids.

Mood Swings

Vaping can mess with your kid's mood. Nicotine, the addictive stuff in e-cigarettes, can make them irritable, restless, or just plain grumpy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention links nicotine use in teens to mood disorders [1]. So, if your kid's mood is all over the place, vaping might be the culprit.

But hey, mood swings can also be part of growing up or other mental health issues. So, handle this with care. If you're seeing unexplained mood changes, think about getting some professional advice. Check out our article on interventions for adolescent vaping for more help.

Recognizing these social and emotional signs is key to tackling vaping. If you're worried your kid might be vaping, have a heart-to-heart with them. Approach the conversation with understanding and openness. For more signs of vaping in teenagers, visit our detailed guide on signs of vaping in teenagers.

Academic and Performance Indicators

Spotting the symptoms of vaping in adolescents often starts with keeping an eye on their school and extracurricular activities. Changes here can be early red flags.

Decline in School Performance

One of the first clues that a teen might be vaping is a drop in their school performance. This could mean lower grades, missing homework, zoning out in class, or getting into trouble. A study from the University of Michigan found that substance use, including vaping, can mess with cognitive functions and school performance[^1^].

Parents should pay attention to report cards and any notes from teachers or school staff. Regular chats with teachers can also give you a heads-up on any changes in your kid's behavior or grades.

If you see your child's school performance slipping, it's time to step in. Start with a calm, open talk about their schoolwork and any problems they might be having. For more tips on how to handle this, check out our guide on detecting vaping in kids.

[^1^]: Johnston, L. D., et al. (2019). Monitoring the Future national survey results on drug use, 1975-2018: Overview, key findings on adolescent drug use. Institute for Social Research, The University of Michigan.

Lack of Interest in Activities

Another sign of possible vaping is when teens lose interest in activities they used to love[^2^]. This could be sports, music, art, or other hobbies. If they suddenly don't care about these activities, especially along with other vaping signs, it's worth paying attention.

Nicotine, the main addictive stuff in e-cigarettes, can mess with mood and focus, making it hard for users to enjoy or stick with their hobbies[^3^][^4^].

If your child seems checked out or uninterested in their usual activities, talk to them about it. Encourage them to share their feelings and let them know you're there to help.

If you think your kid might be vaping, it might be time to get professional help. A healthcare pro can offer advice and suggest possible interventions. More details can be found in our guide on interventions for adolescent vaping.

[^2^]: National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2020). Vaping: What you need to know. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. [^3^]: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2016). E-cigarette use among youth and young adults: A report of the Surgeon General. [^4^]: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020). Outbreak of lung injury associated with the use of e-cigarette, or vaping, products.

Talking to Your Kid About Vaping

Spotting the signs of vaping in teens is just the beginning. The real challenge is having that heart-to-heart with your kid. It’s tough, but it’s super important for their health.

Bringing It Up

When you talk about vaping, stay cool and collected. The American Academy of Pediatrics says you should get the facts straight about vaping and its dangers before you chat.

The CDC suggests asking open-ended questions to get the conversation rolling. Try asking what they think about vaping or if they know anyone who does it.

Skip the blame game. Instead, show you care about their health. The National Institute on Drug Abuse recommends talking about the long-term effects of nicotine addiction and the health risks of vaping [4]. For more tips, check out our article on helping teens quit vaping.

Building Trust

Trust is key for open chats. The American Psychological Association says trust grows from being consistent, understanding, and respectful [5].

Mayo Clinic advises spending quality time with your kid and showing interest in what they do. When you talk about vaping, really listen to their side without jumping in or assuming things. This shows you respect their thoughts and feelings [6].

Remember, building trust takes time. Be patient with both your kid and yourself. For more on building trust, see our article on spotting e-cigarette use in kids.

Talking to your kid about vaping needs a gentle touch, patience, and understanding. By staying calm and building trust, you can help them understand the risks of vaping and guide them towards healthier choices.

Need Help and Support?

If your kid's showing signs of vaping, it's time to get some help. This means talking to healthcare pros and joining support groups where you can find folks who get what you're going through.

Talk to the Pros

First thing, chat with a healthcare expert who knows about teen addiction. They can check out the situation, guide you, and suggest treatments that work for teen vaping.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse has a guide on treating teen substance use. It's packed with info on evidence-based treatments and can help you understand your options.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has a tool to find treatment centers near you. These places offer help for substance use, addiction, and mental health issues.

Also, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry has a directory to find child and teen psychiatrists. These docs specialize in mental health for kids and teens and can offer targeted treatment for vaping addiction.

Join Support Groups

Besides professional help, support groups can be a lifesaver. They offer a safe space to share your experiences, learn from others, and find comfort knowing you're not alone.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness has tons of support and education programs for people and families dealing with mental health issues, including addiction.

The Partnership to End Addiction offers one-on-one help for parents and caregivers of kids struggling with substance use. They have a helpline, online forums, and loads of resources to help families understand and tackle substance use and addiction.

Remember, spotting signs of vaping in teenagers is just the first step. Getting professional help and joining support groups can give you the tools and resources you need to help your kid recover. For more info, check out our guide on detecting vaping in kids.

References

[1]: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7023954/

[2]: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/tobacco/Pages/Talking-to-Your-Kids-About-Vaping.aspx

[3]: https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/talking-to-youth-about-vaping/index.html

[4]: https://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/tobacco-nicotine-vaping

[5]: https://www.apa.org/topics/parenting/building-trust