"He honestly did not think there was anything wrong," Kennedy said. "He told me that almost all grade seven were doing it."
And soon he realized that the trend had reached many other children in his orbit: Kennedy, who owns a dance studio in northern California, discovered that most of his dancers had tried to vape. He learned that children vaping at school, taking puffs in their shirts and, in some cases, reloading their e-cigarettes into their teacher's computer, he said.
In the meantime, many parents seemed to forget.
Health experts say parents whose children are vaping often do not know what to do or where to turn for help.
While federal authorities are discussing how to regulate e-cigarettes on a large scale and while the Altria tobacco company invests billions in the Juul electronic cigarette maker, parents are scrambling home to deal with nicotine addiction or to prevent to their children to be attached to something that is omnipresent in many schools. Some are approaching addiction rehabilitation programs in hopes of weaning their children from these products.
"It's all about social media," said Kennedy, and popular with the most famous athletes in his community.
As a mother, Kennedy said, she understands the role peer pressure can play with fashions like electronic cigarettes. And as an athlete's mother ̵
1; Ryder is an avid soccer and basketball player – Kennedy said he knew he had to do something. So he asked a local company to print some shirts with a clear message: "The athletes do not make the vape". He did not know it would happen.
Ryder called his mother the first day he brought his shirt to school, saying some of his friends wanted theirs. Kennedy also shared the photos of the shirt on Facebook and received requests from people in Los Angeles, Sacramento and Canada who wanted the positive message. He also invited local athletes to a photo shoot and posted the results on social media – and they actually showed up on Sunday morning, to his surprise.
"The children's response was the thing that shocked me," Kennedy said.
Ben over 500 t-shirts were printed, he said; most were donated in cooperation with Ryder's middle school and Kennedy's ball company, and others continue to be sold at cost. Kennedy said that his goal is to share a positive message and raise awareness among children and parents.
"It may be frightening for some parents [and] to be anxious for parents to realize that their children are vaping," said Pat Aussem, an addictive counselor with the parent coaching program at the no-partnership. profit for children without drugs.
Aussem first tells his parents overwhelmed, "take a deep breath."
An important conversation
"The first thing parents can do is educate yourself," said Meredith Berkman, who co-founded Parents electronic cigarettes last year. Against Vaping when he realized that fashion was hitting close to home – literally.
"I kept hearing the window open," said Berkman, a mother of four in New York. "I realized this was happening at my house."
Electronic cigarettes, which work by heating a liquid until they vaporize, can be difficult to spot because many seem USB drives and regular pens. The liquid commonly contains different concentrations of nicotine, although some people use devices to vape only marijuana or flavorings.
Experts fear that e-cigarettes may endanger the evolving brain of children, make them fall in love with nicotine early in life and access to smoking and other drugs – but long-term effects are not clear.
"In many cases, parents do not know their children are vaping, or they do not know what's in vape," Aussem said. "There are parents who know their children are vaping, but they assume it's harmless because they think," Oh, it's aromatic. "" How bad can it be? ""
Experts also recommend that parents are familiar with the signs that their children might vap: if they notice a faint smell, for example. Young e-cig users can also show a change in mood, take frequent breaks to take puffs and share vape-related posts on social media, according to experts
Parents can also model good behavior by not fumbling or smoking tobacco on their own, according to the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. And it's important to have an open conversation with your child – listening to the lessons, experts say. It can also be helpful for parents to understand the reasons why their child may fade – such as peer pressure, anxiety or avoiding withdrawal symptoms – in order to encourage healthier ways of responding to those needs, he says. the Partnership.
is that your child has at least heard of the most popular electronic cigarette, Juul, according to a research by Bonnie Halpern-Felsher, founder and executive director of the Stanford Tobacco Prevention Toolkit.
Halpern-Felsher said these conversations could go further simply by telling the children that e-cigarettes hurt them and set clear expectations on the use of drugs. Parents can also discuss how the devices have been marketed in such a way as to attract young people, including advertisements, a vast presence on social media and the variety of flavors they enter.
Ashley Gould, chief administrative officer at Juul Labs CNN in June, "We were completely surprised by the youthful use of the product." The company claimed that its product is intended to convert former adult smokers into what Juul describes as a less harmful alternative and states that he is taking steps to restrict the use of electronic cigarettes by children.
"It was devastating us," said Gould. "This is not a product for young people."
The company, which holds about 75 percent of the US e-cigarette market, has also argued that flavors are a useful tool for helping adult smokers to switch from combustible cigarettes.
Dr. Scott Gottlieb, Commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration, proposed in November to strengthen the agency's policies against electronic cigarette flavored products. These proposals could ultimately require their removal from shelves and websites accessible to minors. But the proposed changes do not include aromas of mint, menthol and tobacco. Gottlieb said he wanted to leave the door open for adults who could use these products to stop smoking cigarettes, "but it can not come at the expense of a generation of nicotine-affected children," he previously told CNN.