Teens Using Nicotine

Parent Q&A

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  • Have any of you tried to help your teen get off nicotine? She's been vaping and now started cigarettes. She says she wants to stop. I found a man who does hypnotherapy and says he has a 90% success rate. It's pretty expensive but if it were true, it would be worth it. Have any of you tried hypnosis for quitting smoking? He did say she has to want to stop and be willing to pay for part of the treatment, so she has "skin in the game". I'm not sure if she is going to go for that.  He also said, if someone doesn't want to stop, nothing you can do can make them, which I agree with. 

    Please weigh in with your thoughts, experiences, etc..

    Thank you!!

    Many people I know have had good success with “The Easy Way to stop Smoking” by Allen Carr. 

    Good to read it a few times and combine with The Nada protocol- an Acupuncture treatment for addiction . 

    Hope that helps! 

    My dad smoked for 20 years and tried many many things to quit. What finally worked for him was acupuncture. He was doubtful, as "alternative medicine" is not something he believes in. But it did the trick.

    Kaiser has a good smoking cessation program. They had a CD you could buy which was helpful to my sister in law. Even if you are not a member you can buy things in their shop. Good luck. It's hard for a teen to see long term consequences. But cancer sucks. Good luck!

    Our son also wanted to quit and had success with Chantix.  It's a tough addiction, good luck!

  • College age daughter vaping

    (3 replies)

    My college age daughter (almost 21) is vaping regularly. A couple years ago while helping her move into a new apartment at college, a roommate mentioned that she wanted to try a Juul.  I brought up to both girls "you really need to be careful because nicotine is extremely addictive and bad for one's health and you don't want to become addicted". Their response was "we won't", as though addiction was some intellectual decision that one would make. Fast forward two years - while out visiting my daughter this past fall while she was having a rough semester because she got mononucleosis, I noticed a Juul pod on the ground right outside the front door. I picked it up and made a comment "whose Juul pod?", to which she replied that it was her roommate's (different roommate).  Then she confesses that she got mono from the roommate because she shared her Juul.  While at home during vacations I see now signs of a Juul in her possession. I called her out on it once, but it backfired, with (I presume) her reasoning was that if I know she vaping then she is free to have the device out and and in front of me, although I never see vapor or smell smoke. I talked to her a couple times about concerns of addiction to nicotine, to which she replied "But I enjoy it; it makes me feel good". So at this point I feel there is nothing I can do. And I understand because I grew up with parents who smoked, and I also smoked in high school and some of college, but I eventually quit because of health effects and social unacceptability.  But vaping is so unobtrusive that I don't know what external factors would influence someone to quit, especially since it seems that vaping is ubiquitous in this generation of kids and they don't recognize the negative health (and financial?) effects and "they enjoy it". Anyone else having to deal with this and what have you done or said to your son or daughter?

    I hear you. I have a teen who loves his pot. For now, I managed to buy his sobriety for 3 months by offering to buy him a car once he graduates high school. I also managed to dissuade him from vaping nicotine, though there's a trend to vape a mixture of weed and tobacco (think it's called "moking").  It helped that he broke out in zits and ulcers around his mouth when he was vaping, and he really cares about his looks. 

    I found that once my son turned 17, there wasn't much I could do to stop him from doing what he wanted to do. And I think parents who say they can control their teenagers and young adults are fooling themselves. I've known so many parents who said, "My child has never ...." while their kid confessed to me that they did all of the "..." and more, but hid it well enough from their parents.

    Your daughter may figure it out eventually that she doesn't want to vape anymore. You can tell her what you think about it without being overly dramatic, and I do believe it makes a difference even though it doesn't seem so.  I hope my son grows out of smoking pot.  Maybe he'll meet a nice girl or a friend who'll tell him how stupid it is.  And yes, I'm worried sick that his addiction won't ever let him stop, but then I have hope.  That's all we can do. Hope.

    It may be hard to talk about the pros and cons, but by the time kids are in middle school, parents need to talk about the pros and cons of a decision and then leave it up to them. Parents really have no control over drinking, drugs, smoking, sex, etc. if you admit to that everyone will be happier. And admitting that there are good reasons to be involved in these activities may seem like you are promoting them, but if you leave out this very important part of making decisions, they will tune you out. So yes, vaping makes you feel good. It is also a way to bond or feel a part of a community. Teenagers do it because their friends do it and they want to belong. So when you are both calm, sit down, talk about the pros and cons, and let it go. The more you try to pressure her to quit the more she will cling to this habit. 

    I found at some point that telling my daughter I knew she would figure out the right thing for herself was the best course. It changed the dynamic of our relationship. Along the way there were many sleepless nights for me, but slowly, oh so slowly, the troubling rebellious behaviors waned and the responsible ones took root. She's now working on her dissertation involving genomics and big data. Fourteen years ago she was a runaway. I remained there for her throughout. I learned to only give advice when asked. Now, teaching undergrads, I have a design student seeking to dissuade teens from vaping, through research and graphics. If you or your daughter would be willing to speak with him, please get in touch. —Mimi

Archived Q&A and Reviews



Chain smoking 17 year old

Dec 2011

I have a seventeen year old son with ADHD and is a recovering drug addict. He going to young people AA meeting weekly. He is a chain smoker and I am allergic to nicotine, is there any programs that I could take my son to. For example visiting a person that has throat cancer or lung cancer. I know it is his decision to stop smoking but I would like him to visually see what could happen to him. A healthy parent that wants to stay that way.

Here is some information that can help you help your teen quit smoking.

Here is information from the American Cancer Society about teen smoking - knowing the risks can help motivate your teen to quit: http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/CancerCauses/TobaccoCancer/ChildandTeenTobaccoUse/child-and-teen-tobacco-use?docSelected=child-and-teen-tobacco-use-ref

The American Cancer Society (1.800.ACS.2345 www.cancer.org) has free brochures with images of healthy vs. tobacco affected lungs - and you can also ask for materials that focus on young people to be sent to you to leave where he can see them.

You can also connect with the Californa Smokers Helpline which is free and provided by the California Dept of Public Health. http://www.californiasmokershelpline.org/

Talk also with your health insurer which may have other support groups or resources to help your teen quit including medications like NRT. Some employers also offer smoking cessation programs as a employee benefit and extend that benefit to family members as well. Check with your HR dept to see if your employer has such a program.

People who care about teen health and risks of teen smoking should be aware of an initiative on the upcoming June ballot. Californians can vote to increase the tax on cigarettes by $1/pack with funds going to cancer research. The California Cancer Research Act if passed will have a direct impact on teen smoking and prevention efforts. Learn more (and volunteer) at CaliforniansforaCure.org or contact me at jkatz [at] cancer.org Janna

If he is open to it, I would suggest that you consider therapeutic hypnosis to help your son quit smoking. Most stop smoking hypnosis programs have a very high success rate and are used with great effectiveness by various companies and organizations to help their people stop smoking. It may also help your son with his drug issues as well. There are a number of options available in the Bay area, if you search online under the phrase ''stop smoking hypnosis programs.'' Best of luck! B.

Smoking cessation program for teen


I have a teen who is smoking. Does anyone know of a smoking cessation program specifically oriented toward teens? How have others handled this? Anonymous

In response to the parent who wants information about smoking cessation for teens, I'd like to share the following:

The Tobacco Prevention Program at Berkeley High School has tobacco use cessation services for Berkeley students. For information, call Karen Perry or Marcia Brown-Machen at 644-8987. Teen (and adult) information and/or cessation counseling is also available by phone at the California's Smokers Helpline: 1-800-NO BUTTS. For more information about other resources for quitting, including hypnosis, acupuncture, other community quit groups and information on the use of nicotine patches and the new no-smoking pill, Wellbutrin (Zyban), or to chat about teens and smoking, you can e-mail: QuitNow AT ci.berkeley.ca.us or phone 644-6422.

Thanks, Marcia Brown-Machen, MPH
Tobacco Prevention Program Director
2344 6th Street
Berkeley, CA 94710
(510) 665-6808
MBrown-Machen AT ci.berkeley.ca.us