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Practical tips on talking to a teen about vaping

Problem solve together

Share your desire to help and offer help: “When you vape, I worry about your health. I would like to help you work out what to do.”

Problem solve together – ask “What’s going to help?”

Examples of things young people say help manage their desire to vape:

  • Keeping busy, for example doing puzzles, drawing, or playing games on a mobile phone
  • Physical activity – skating, dancing, sports
  • Having snacks on hand they can grab when experiencing an urge to vape
  • Fidget toys to occupy the hands
  • Talking about it with someone they can relate to.

Read more about vaping dependence- what it looks like and what you can do as a parent or carer.

Ask: What’s not going to help?

Examples of things young people say are not helpful:

  • Feeling pressured to quit
  • Feeling criticised and judged
  • Not having someone relatable to talk to about how they feel.

See Tips to quit vaping.

De-normalise it

Your young person might feel like everyone is vaping and, as a result, may feel pressure from their broader peer group to give vaping a go. Try asking them “How many young people do you think in Australia have tried vaping?”. Be ready with the stats - roughly 1/3 of teens have tried vaping. The key message is that despite what it looks like in school bathrooms or on social media, most young people do not vape.

Ask them to think about not only their friends, but also people who share their interest such as team mates, coaches, older siblings and positive role models who they admire and look up to.

Check what else is going on

Your young person may be using vaping to distract from negative feelings. Gently over time explore what is causing stress. Is it bullying, feeling overwhelmed with school demands or social pressures? It is very important to encourage they seek support to address the underlying cause(s) of stress and develop stress management skills. Your GP is a great resource for not only support with vaping, but also for linking in with mental health supports.

Encourage seeking support

Often young people do well with making changes when they can explore this outside the home with a psychologist, GP, or Quitline. Having someone who is neutral gives them the space to deeply understand their behaviour and to freely work out their goals – what they want to do compared to what they know they should do (perhaps to please you!). Services like Quitline (phone 13 7848 or contact online via can then help them work out a plan to reach their goal. You can help your young person by encouraging them to talk to someone.

Last updated January 2024

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