Seven Clues That Your Teen May Be Vaping

Mystery medical case #1: 

“This summer, my daughter has been drinking a ton of water and peeing a lot. I’m worried she has diabetes.”

Mystery medical case #2:

 “He’s coughing all through the night, but he doesn’t have a cold and seems totally fine during the day. Is this allergies?” 

Mystery medical case #3: 

 “She has these blisters on her fingertips. I heard hand foot and mouth is going around, is this what she has?”


This is a sample of conversations I've had with families that all resulted in the same diagnosis: Your child is vaping. 

E-cigarette use is skyrocketing in my KC community. From middle schoolers through high school seniors, I have been repeatedly surprised by the significant number of kids admitting to the routine use of a JUUL or Phix device. In addition, I am beginning to see medical concerns in teenagers due to routine e-cig use. 

My experience is not unique. Recent data suggests routine e-cig use has risen an astonishing 900% over the last few years. As the prevalence of vaping rises, many parents in my community are becoming aware that vaping is a problem, asking me to talk to their kids about this risky trend. 

Parents are also asking if there are ways that they could tell if their child is a routine user. Especially for families with a history of addiction problems, identifying a child who may be routinely vaping allows for the possibility of early intervention. With early intervention, there is less risk of long-term addiction.

To learn seven ways that may suggest your teen is vaping, click out to this post I wrote for US News and World Report’s parenting blog. In it, I also explain why e-cigs are more risky to teens than adults and share research suggesting e-cig use being associated with increased use of other inhalants. Need more info? Here is an episode of KCUR’s Up To Date where I am joined by toxicologist Dr. Jennifer Lowry. We share more detail about the risks of vaping, including what the FDA is currently doing to monitor this problem. 

Bottom line: Watch for signs of nicotine use in your teen to help with early intervention. As the popularity of vaping continue to rise, so does your child’s risk.