In these present times, the media has some level of influence on our day to day activities. Whether it’s how we shop; what we shop for; what music we listen to; how a small business reaches and retrieves customers; or where we get our news, entertainment, and gossip, the media can be a powerful tool. However, sometimes the media, especially social media, can be manipulated to glamourize certain behaviors. Our youth can sometimes take these glamourizations at face value as things they aspire to experience without considering reality or possible consequences–the is especially true when there is frequent exposure.
Specifically speaking, big tobacco companies advertise e-cigarette use and vaping as something “cool”, “trendy”, and “less harmful” in comparison to smoking cigarettes. They appeal to youth through their posts/ads highlighting their various flavors, “smoke tricks”, and portraying the behaviors as something popular, as if “everyone is doing it”.
During adolescence, this period is a time of development where belonging and acceptance of peers is viewed as important. Therefore, the more it is seen, the more it is perceived to be accepted and normal, which is dangerous because it may more easily sway the desire of our youth to engage in e-cigarette use and vaping.
At this moment, there are no regulations on the advertisement of vaping and e-cigarette use on different media outlets and platforms. Therefore, as parents/guardians, it is encouraged to be mindful of what our youth are exposed to in the media. Be sure to inform them of the actual facts, dangers, and health consequences that are associated with vaping and tobacco use. We encourage all parents/guardians to talk with their child(ren) early and often regarding these topics because research has shown that having these conversations can influence youth to not engage in these behaviors–this is especially true when parents voice their disapproval of vaping and tobacco use.
If your child or a child you know is currently vaping/smoking and unable to stop, please contact the child’s health care provider, school counselor, or other trusted professional to discuss ways to help them quit. You can also check out some of these other resources below:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Quitline: 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669)
The National Cancer Institute Quitline: 877-44U-QUIT (877-448-7848)
You can also text “TALK” to 85775 to receive other quit resources!