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How do I know if my child is vaping?

What do e-cigarettes look like?

E-cigarettes ('vapes') come in all shapes and sizes. They can look like everyday items commonly used by students such as a highlighter, a pen or USB, hoodie toggle, teddy bear or even a juice box. Some can be disposable, and some are small enough to fit into a pocket or a pencil case. An e-cigarette device can be identified by taking the cap off the item to see if it has a mouthpiece.

Vapes can come in all shapes and sizes, with flavours that appeal to children.

Vapes come in all shapes and sizes. E-liquids come in flavours likely to appeal to young people.

How do I know if my child is vaping?

The easiest way to detect e-cigarette use is if there is an unexpected smell in the air from e-cigarette flavouring. Teens tend to use fruit or sweet flavours, so this scent is usually sweet. E-cigarettes come in flavours like fruit punch, fairy floss, chocolate milk and cola ice to make them palatable.

Some children use large amounts of spray on deodorant to mask the smell of vaping.

If your child is irritable after 45-60 minutes of being in a situation where they cannot vape, they might be exhibiting signs of nicotine addiction.

Read more on vaping dependence- what it looks like and what you can do as a parent or carer to help your young person quit.

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A vape hidden amongst stationary in a pencil case.

A vape can look like a pen, highlighter or USB stick.

A vape that looks like a USB stick next to gaming equipment.

Many celebrities and social media influencers are being paid by Big Tobacco and e-cigarette companies to encourage teens to buy their products and get addicted to nicotine.

Last updated January 2024

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