4 ways to help your teen quit smoking or vaping

A good first step is helping your teen find resources to quit smoking or vaping. They need to know you’re on their team and you support them.

How to help your teen quit smoking or vaping

Norton Children’s Prevention & Wellness

We provide free resources for preventing tobacco use and vaping, helping people quit at any age.

If your teen is smoking or vaping, there are ways to help them quit. Smoking and vaping are popular among young people; teens don’t assess risks the same as adults. They’re also more impressionable when it comes to peer pressure — resulting in many teens currently addicted to nicotine.

“A good start is helping your teen find resources to quit smoking or vaping,” said Amy Lazarewicz, R.N., M.S., director, prevention & wellness, Norton Healthcare. “When helping a child through addiction, make sure they you’re on their team and are there to support them through this process.”

1) Have an open conversation
You can begin by having a casual conversation with your teen. The goal is to have open dialogue, not start an argument or shame your teen for smoking. Some questions to help direct your conversation about quitting smoking may include:

  • What made you interested in smoking? Did you feel pressured or use it as an outlet?
  • Is anything stressing you out? Can you tell me about it?
  • Are you aware of the side effects of vaping?
  • Are there any other activities or hobbies that could help you de-stress?
  • Do you know how nicotine addiction can affect you in the long term?
  • Do others around you vape? Do you feel awkward or judged if you don’t?

2) Make an appointment with the pediatrician

Sometimes teens don’t want to hear advice from their parents. If they are not receptive to your feedback, consider setting up an appointment with your child’s pediatrician. That way, your teen can learn from a health expert about the health concerns surrounding nicotine use. If smoking or vaping is related to stress, depression or another mental health concern, consider finding a professional to support your teen. Resources could include:

  • School counselor
  • Counseling sessions that may be available through a parent’s workplace
  • A licensed therapist who specializes in working with teens (may be covered by insurance)

3) Keep encouraging them

If you child decides to attempt quitting, celebrate and support them. The reality is, it’s hard to quit smoking, and it’s even harder to abruptly stop. When your child quits, they may experience symptoms related to nicotine withdrawal, such as mood swings or increased anxiety. Weaning off of nicotine with gum or a patch may be useful.

After a few weeks, the physical symptoms of addiction should ease. However, if their habit is related to an emotional dependence, additional mental health support should be explored. If your child smokes again, keep supporting them and be a positive reminder of why they wanted to quit smoking in the first place — until they can kick the habit for good.

4) Get support from our free classes

Norton Children’s Prevention & Wellness offers free tobacco cessation classes for teens. Group sessions meet once weekly for seven weeks to discuss the importance of good health, learn tools to prepare for tough moments and support each other on the journey to quitting.

This is a voluntary program for teens ages 14 to 17. To register for this class, visit NortonChildrens.com/Classes-Events or call (502) 629-1234, option 4.

Free tobacco cessation classes also are available for individuals ages 18 and older. Visit NortonHealthcare.com/Smoking for more information and available classes.