I can’t get my daughter to quit (Picture: GETTY / Crystal Baynam)
‘Your daughter has an hour detention, due to vaping’.
When I received this message from my child’s school, my heart sank.
Katie, just 15, had been caught using a vape, and I was completely stunned.
This was despite the fact that a few weeks earlier I had found a disposable vape – pink lemonade flavour – in her room, which Katie had explained away, claiming it belonged to one of her friends.
In fact, she had told me that her friends smoked and vaped, but that she found it all disgusting.
So it hurt me to discover she was lying to me, and I felt like a bad parent for not realising what was happening under my nose.
It was a horrible feeling, especially because I used to smoke and had been using disposable vapes myself trying to quit. I started to believe I was a bad influence.
So when Rishi Sunak announced he was planning to ban disposable vapes and restrict the flavour range by the end of the year, I felt relieved.
She’s never lied to me before (Picture: Crystal Baynam)
But still, this doesn’t go far enough – it’s all well and good stopping future generations becoming addicted, but those already hooked, like my daughter, also need help.
After making the discovery, I’ve tried to discourage Katie from vaping but it’s had little impact and she’s continued.
Katie has confessed that she loves some of the bright colours on the packaging, which is why I agree with the government’s conclusion these products are aimed at children.
The fact that these vapes are cheaper and disposable too, makes them easier for teens to afford and hide from their parents. I certainly didn’t suspect anything until that call from the school.
When I received the message about Katie’s detention, I was also told that they could throw the vape or give it back to her.
It shocked me that handing kids back a vape was even an option, and without a moment’s hesitation, I told them to throw it away.
When Katie got home, I couldn’t help but be angry – she explained that all her friends were doing it, so she didn’t see the harm in trying it herself.
The peer pressure had become too much, and she tried it. She liked it. And now, I believe it’s got to the point where she’s become addicted.
I grounded Katie, but I began to think about how it had got to this point.
We’ve always had a very close relationship and she’s always been able to come to me about anything, to talk about whatever was on her mind. But she had lied to me about this.
Her friends were lying too - speaking to other parents I found out when one was caught with a disposable vape, they simply blamed another member of the group.
Now, I can’t get my daughter to quit.
No matter how stark my warnings, no matter how harsh the punishment, Katie won’t stop. She says she enjoys it, and it calms her anxiety.
Raising issues around health, money, and the environment simply doesn’t faze her.
But the impact is obvious - even though vapes typically contain far less nicotine than a cigarette, you can tell when Katie hasn’t got one. Her attitude changes and the mood swings are a nightmare to deal with.
I’m unsettled by the idea I might have shown a bad example, having smoked all my life and using vapes to quit.
I’ve brought a non-disposable vape for myself to try and show how you can be weaned off – both cigarettes and single use vapes – but Katie has tried it and has said that the flavours aren’t as strong as in the ones she uses.
With a government’s ban on disposable vaping products in the works, Katie’s dad and I have talked to her about how she could be affected.
Thus far, however, her attitude is, ‘well if I can’t vape, I’ll smoke’. And she will. I know she will because she told me she has tried smoking in the last year.
I’m concerned about this, but also about a rise in the black market opportunity for disposable vapes.
And if that happens, who knows what kind of products will be sold, or what chemicals they may contain?
This ban, if it comes into place, must deal with disposable vapes simply going underground, and being sold illegally.
It terrifies me that Katie could buy something that harms her or makes her extremely ill.
But we also need provisions to deal with those, like Katie, who are already addicted, so we can get them the help they need to stop.
That she won’t just turn to other vapes or cigarettes.
I love my daughter, and I will be there for her every step of the way – she needs help, and I will make it my priority to help her.
But I need the government to step up too.
How to quit vaping
According to Smokefreeteen, there are some things to consider if you want to quit vaping:
Pick a date a week or two away when you plan to quit and take some steps to prepare before then
Figure out what triggers lead you to want to vape so you can avoid them once you first quit
Expect to get cravings and devise a plan for how you are going to deal with them
Ask for support from your friends and family, or seek advice from your doctor
Distance yourself from people who will try and encourage you to vape once you’ve quit
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