Take the 2-minute tour ×
Parenting Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for parents, grandparents, nannies and others with a parenting role. It's 100% free, no registration required.

This question was inspired by a question about pregnancy and exposure to the second hand products of the smoking device known as e cigarettes.

My child has a "friend" we work with at the theater that is a teenager (17) who has taken up smoking e-cigarettes. He does it because he considers them safe, he can practice blowing smoke rings (like Gandalf) and its the "latest and greatest" in being cool and new.

His mom cares, but figures the boy is too old to be able to make an issue of it since he is almost officially an adult, but he does live with her still.

So, while it isn't currently an "issue" for my household, I am curious what others would do. What persuasive information is there one way or the other that could be used with a teen and would it be wise to "lay down the law" about something like this in such a case as this?

share|improve this question
1  
Tough problem. There isn't really a lot she can do. If he has access to money through a job, it might be legal for her to remove that money from him, or to prevent him from holding a job to earn the money. But we can soon leave and do what he likes, and she might not want to have this fight be the basis of their future relationship. "Not in the House" might be the best ground for her to make a stand on. –  Marc Mar 1 at 16:30

2 Answers 2

Contrary to what your kid's friend says, e-cigarettes are not safe. You are still inhaling nicotine, meaning that you are still susceptible to many of the adverse effects of regular cigarettes, i.e., addiction, cardiovascular problems, increased risk of cancer, increased risk of birth defects if you use them while pregnant, and so on. In fact, liquid nicotine, the active component of e-cigarettes, has been historically used as poison in assassinations: if you coat the blade of a small knife in liquid nicotine, even a small cut can be lethal, as a mere 60mg (about .002 ounces, about the amount you can fit in a couple of drops) are enough to kill an average human being.

Of course, 17 year-old kids think they are invincible, but it won't hurt to make sure your kid knows about this. If your kid is male, you can also drop the fact that nicotine is known to cause erectile disfunction. I don't know if this still true, but when I was 17, impotence was way more worrying than other, actually more serious health problems.

share|improve this answer
1  
So funny, I used to tell my eighth grade health class about how extra cilia grows on the tongue at the back of the mouth if you smoke (regular cigarettes) long enough. "Who wants to kiss a hairy mouth?" had what is probably a fairly similar effect. I'd love references, because that would mean I could pass the info along to his mom quite easily. –  balanced mama Mar 3 at 5:40
1  
Children will always assume they're invincible so best to appeal to their vanity - balanced mama has a good one. Yellow teeth and nails are others (not sure if they apply to e-cigs though). Hit them where they're most concerned: how they look to their peers! –  Alex In Paris Mar 3 at 10:24
2  
"has been historically used as poison" - The dose makes the poison –  AakashM Mar 7 at 16:02
1  
* Wong HP, Yu L, Lam EK, Tai EK, Wu WK, Cho CH (June 2007). "Nicotine promotes colon tumor growth and angiogenesis through beta-adrenergic activation". Toxicol. Sci. 97 (2): 279–87 –  Koldito Mar 12 at 8:32
1  
* Natori T, Sata M, Washida M, Hirata Y, Nagai R, Makuuchi M (October 2003). "Nicotine enhances neovascularization and promotes tumor growth". Mol. Cells 16 (2): 143–6. –  Koldito Mar 12 at 8:33

This is a particularly tough problem because it has not been conclusively proven whether or not e-cigarettes are safe or not. It's possible that consuming just nicotine is an acceptable level of health risk like occasional drinking and not an immediate chunk off your life like cigarettes. It's too new a product for the evidence to be conclusive.

Speaking as a college kid, not a parent, I would use it to teach rational thinking and measured assessment of risk, as well as good financial practices. Do research with your kid (actual research, not health-scare-of-the-week dreck) and talk to them about how much it costs and ask them if they would rather spend their money on something else. Don't immediately ban it, talk them through figuring out whether something is safe and desirable for them or not. Emphasize the unpleasant lack of control that is addiction.

More pointedly, e-cigarette cartridges come in zero nicotine. If her primary motivation is protecting her son from health risks, she could push for or subsidize him switching to no-nicotine, and he could still practice blowing smoke rings.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.