What If My Child Doesn’t Want to Quit Vaping?

There’s a good chance your child is feeling lots of pressure – from peers and/or social media – to keep vaping. Or, maybe they don’t understand how addictive it is. Maybe quitting simply feels impossible or they don’t know where to start.

This is an important time to be their partner. Rather than punishing or yelling at them, see if you can learn more about where they’re coming from. Check out these specific tips to have those conversations.

Explore Motivation

Getting your child to quit vaping isn’t about telling them why you want them to stop. It’s about helping them find their own motivation. 

Start by helping them get clear about how they think about vaping. Ask open-ended questions (questions that don’t have a one-word answer, like “yes” or “no”) to explore where they see themselves in the future. 

For example, ask:

  • Where do you see yourself five years from now? Do you think you'll still be vaping? 
  • If not, how do you think you'll stop?

Weigh Pros and Cons

Help your child explore both sides. Start with what they like about vaping first. It might be tempting to only focus on the negatives, but it’s actually important to understand why they’re vaping in the first place. 

Find out: What do they get out of it?  What does it feel like? Does it help them interact with friends more comfortably? Help them manage stress or anxiety? 

Then, once you’re clear on this side of things, ask what things about vaping are not so great. Do they get withdrawal symptoms? What do those feel like? Do some of their friends disapprove of their vaping? Do they feel out of control?

The grid below can help guide your conversation. See if you can fill all four squares together. There may be different answers in each box. 

By exploring all sides, you’ll show your child you’re open to understanding their whole experience. If you’re pressed for time, you might just focus on the pros of continuing to vape and pros of quitting.

Pros of continuing to vape

For example:

  • It helps me concentrate
  • It wakes me up
  • It helps me fit in with friends

Cons of continuing to vape

For example:

  • I’m always worried about getting caught
  • It’s harder to play sports
  • Cravings make me irritable and anxious

Pros of quitting

For example:

  • I’ll be less stressed out
  • I’ll feel more in control
  • I’ll be proud of myself

Cons of quitting

For example:

  • Some of my friends will be mad
  • Cravings will suck while I’m quitting
  • It feels really overwhelming

Even if your child is still not interested in quitting, you’ve planted an important seed. Nicotine is an addictive chemical, and quitting can seem really overwhelming. 

Also, the part of the brain responsible for good judgment is still developing through the mid-20s. Having this conversation lets them know continuing to vape isn’t their only option.

Take Next Steps

If your teen is curious about quitting – even if they haven’t totally decided yet – they can check out This is Quitting by texting DITCHVAPE to 88709

The program is designed to help kids who are still on the fence about quitting. They don’t have to be ready to set a quit date. And it’s free! More information about the program is available here.

Feeling confident about how to handle a child not ready to quit?