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Initiating a discussion about smoking or vaping with youth can be challenging for adults. Employing these conversation prompts can assist parents and other adults in addressing this issue with young people.

Conversation Starters with Youth Who Have Not Vaped or Smoked

  • I’ve noticed that smoking and vaping have become more common. What do you think about vaping?
  • Have you ever been curious about smoking or vaping? What have you heard or learned about it?
  • I’ve been reading about the effects of smoking and vaping on health, and I thought we could talk about it.
  • I care about your well-being, and I want to make sure you have all the information you need to make healthy choices. Can we talk about smoking and vaping?
  • Did you know that smoking and vaping can have a negative impact on your athletic performance? It can affect your lungs and overall fitness. I know sports are important to you, so I want to talk about this.
  • I know you have seen people smoke or vape. I want you to understand how addictive nicotine can be. Let’s talk about how it can be difficult to quit once you start.
  • I understand that smoking or vaping might be something that some teenagers do. But I’m worried about the potential risks involved. I want us to talk about it together.
  • Did you know that there is nicotine in vapes, sometimes more than in cigarettes? I just learned about this, and I want to talk to you about it.

Remember: Even though most teens do not vape, it is important to talk about vaping with them. Encourage your children to express their thoughts and feelings, and then actively listen to what they have to say. Express your love and concern. Try to avoid lecturing or criticizing them for their perspectives.

Conversation Starters with Youth Whose Friends Vape or Smoke

  • I’ve noticed that some of your friends smoke or vape. How do you feel about their choices? I’m interested to hear your thoughts.
  • I’ve noticed that some of your friends smoke or vape. Do you think they are aware of the risks involved? Are you aware?
  • I saw [Name] smoking/vaping. I’m concerned about you starting to smoke/vape too. I would like to talk to you about this so that you understand how smoking/vaping can really impact your life.

Remember: Foster open communication and provide a safe space for your child to discuss the friend’s choices. Emphasize the importance of making personal choices that are different from friends and doing things that promote health and wellness.

Conversation Starters with Youth Who Are Vaping or Smoking

  • I recently found out that you’ve been smoking/vaping, and I want to have an open and understanding conversation about it. Let’s talk.
  • I noticed the smell of smoke/vape. I’m concerned about you. Will you share with me what’s been going on?
  • I want you to know that I love you and care about your future. I was surprised to learn that you’ve been smoking/vaping. Why did you start?
  • I want to understand your perspective. What made you start smoking/vaping? Was it curiosity, peer pressure, stress, or something else?
  • I notice that you smoke/vape when you are stressed. Can we explore different ways to cope with stress or anxiety that don’t involve smoking/vaping? I care about your health and well-being.
  • I understand that quitting smoking/vaping can be challenging. I’m here for you, and I want to help you through this process. How can I help you explore options for quitting?
  • I was told that you were vaping at school. You are risking a lot by doing that. Nicotine is addictive and may make you feel like vaping even though you know you could get in trouble, just to stop the cravings. Let me help you deal with this.
  • I understand that you may not want to talk now. Let me know when you are ready. I will check back with you soon.

Remember: Create an open and nonjudgmental environment during these conversations. Actively listen to your children, express your love and concern, and avoid lecturing or criticizing them. Patience is also key. Conversations may be a process and not happen all at once. By maintaining open lines of communication, you can work together to address issues, understand their perspective, and provide guidance and support.


Peer Review markAdrienne Duke-Marks, Extension Specialist, Associate Professor, Human Development and Family Studies, Auburn University

New February 2024, Helping Parents Understand Vaping: Conversation Starters, FCS-2755

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