"Honestly, he did not think there was something wrong," Kennedy said. "He told me that almost all seventh graders did it."

And she soon realized that the trend had affected many more children in her orbit: Kennedy, who owns a dance studio in northern California, discovered that most of her dancers had also tried to keep herself from falling into harm's way. steam. She learned that children were out of breath at school, puffing in their shirts and, in some cases, charging their e-cigarettes to their teacher's own computer, she explained.

Meanwhile, many parents seemed unaware.

Health experts say parents whose children are out of breath often do not know what to do or where to turn for help.

While the federal authorities are struggling to regulate e-cigarettes on a large scale and the tobacco company Altria is investing billions in the electronic cigarette maker Juul, parents are scrambling to fight against nicotine addiction – or prevent their children from becoming hooked on something that is ubiquitous in many schools. Some even consider detox programs in order to remove their children from these products.

"He's everywhere in social media," said Kennedy, popular with star athletes in his community.

As a mother, she understood the role that peer pressure can play with fashions like electronic cigarettes. And as an athlete's mother – Ryder is passionate about football and basketball – Kennedy said that she knew she had to do something. So she asked a local company to print some t-shirts with a clear message: "Athletes do not vape." She did not know it would make her way.

Ryder called his mother the very first day he wore the t-shirt to school, saying that some of his friends wanted theirs. Kennedy also shared photos of the jersey on Facebook and received requests from people in Los Angeles, Sacramento and Canada who wanted to share the positive message. She even invited local athletes to a photo shoot and posted the results on social media. They showed up on a Sunday morning, much to his surprise.

"The kids' response has been what has upset my mind," Kennedy said.

Sonya Kennedy launched a campaign against youth smoking with the slogan
More than 500 shirts were printed, she said. most were donated jointly with Ryder College and the Kennedy Dance Company, and others continue to be sold at cost. Kennedy said her goal is to share a positive message and educate children and parents.
"It can be scary for some parents [and] anxiety for parents to realize that their children are out of breath, "said Pat Aussem, a Senior Addictions Counselor in the Parenting Program of the non-profit association Partnership for Drug-Free Kids.

Aussem says to the overworked parents first, "take a deep breath".

An important conversation

"The first thing parents can do is educate you," said Meredith Berkman, co-founder of Parents Against Vaping's Parents Against Vaping electronic cigarette, when she realized that fashion was hitting almost at home.

"I kept hearing the open window," said Berkman, a mother of four based in New York. "I realized that it was happening at home."

What parents should know about
Electronic cigarettes, which heat up a liquid until it vaporizes, can be difficult to spot because many of them look like USB sticks and conventional pens. The liquid usually contains varying concentrations of nicotine, although some people use it to vape marijuana or to flavor it alone.

Experts fear that e-cigarettes will put children's developing brains at risk, make them addicted to nicotine early in life, and act as a gateway to smoking and other drugs – but the long-term effects do not are not clear.

"In many cases, parents do not know that their children are out of breath or do not know what's in the vape," Aussem said. "There are parents who know their kids are out of breath, but they assume it's harmless because they say to themselves," Oh, that's flavoring. " How can it be bad? ""

Experts also recommend that parents become familiar with the signs that their children might feel: if they notice a slight sweet scent, for example. Young e-cigs users can also show a mood change, take frequent breaks to take flushes and share publications on the vape on social media, according to experts.

Parents can also embody good behavior by avoiding steaming or smoking themselves, according to the Partnership for Drug-Free Children. And it's important to have an open conversation with your child. For experts, listen while listening to lectures. It can also be helpful for parents to understand why their child may be abusing – such as peer pressure, anxiety, or avoiding withdrawal symptoms – to encourage healthier ways to respond to these symptoms. needs, says the Partnership.
According to a study by Bonnie Halpern-Felsher, Founder and Executive Director of the Stanford Tobacco Prevention Toolkit, it is likely that your child has at least heard about the most popular electronic cigarette, Juul.
How does Juul intend to teach his students about vaping?
Halpern-Felsher said these conversations can go beyond simply telling kids that the e-cigarette is bad for them and setting clear expectations for drug use. Parents can also explain how the devices have been marketed in ways that appeal to young people, including advertising, a large presence on social media and the variety of flavors they import.
Ashley Gould, head of administration at Juul Labs, told CNN in June: "We were completely surprised by the use of the product by young people." The company said its product was intended to convert former adult smokers into what Juul describes as a less harmful alternative. She also states that she is taking steps to limit the use of electronic cigarettes by children.

"It was devastating for us," said Gould. "This is not a product for young people."

The company, which owns about 75% of the US e-cigarette market, also said that flavors were a useful tool to help adult smokers pass fuel-burning cigarettes.

Scott Gottlieb, Commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration, proposed in November to strengthen the agency's policies against flavored electronic cigarette products. These proposals could ultimately lead to their removal from shelving and websites accessible to minors. But the proposed changes do not include the aromas of mint, menthol and tobacco. Gottlieb said he wanted to leave the door open to adults who could use these products to stop smoking, "but that can not happen at the expense of a generation's dependence on children to nicotine, "he previously told CNN.
America's largest cigarette company acquires $ 13 billion stake in largest electronic cigarette business

Others have argued that there was no conclusive evidence in favor of this use of the flavors.

"Who does not hope to reduce harm in adult smokers?" Berkman asked of Parents against the electronic cigarette. Despite what she calls a lack of compelling evidence that flavors play a critical role in cessation efforts in adulthood, Berkman said, "you have concrete and direct evidence that flavors hang on children and that the flavors prevent them from perceiving the danger. "
Berkman, whose organization has set up an email campaign to urge parents to ask FDA regulations such as the ban on electronic cigarette aromas, states that she does not advocate the prohibition of Juul. But there is still much to be done – and soon, she said.

"It's happening in real time," she said.

What to watch for

When Dr. Sharon Levy, director of the Teen Addiction and Addiction Program at Boston Children's Hospital, began receiving phone calls from parents across the country describing the impact of e-cigarettes on their children: nicotine consumption, "she said.

"I was wondering if they were using other substances, were they also using marijuana or something else, or were they having mental health problems?" she says. "In fact, I've seen enough children in the area to understand that some of these presentations look like psychiatric presentations."

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Some of these teens come with anxiety, distraction, headaches and stomach upset, symptoms that Levy said to be rarely seen with traditional cigarettes. In children, nicotine addiction can be very different from that of adults, she added.

According to the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, other symptoms may include increased thirst, nosebleeds, and mood changes.

Levy said that "almost all" teens in her program already had some e-cigarette experience, but "the novelty is that we are now seeing patients in the addiction treatment program whose only substance is nicotine."

"Children often have problems with that, and they just do not have a lot of resources," said Levy, adding that many addiction treatment programs may not have been equipped to take care of some of the youngest nicotine dependent children. It would be much better to ensure that primary care physicians are equipped to work with children in their own communities, Levy said.

Study finds strong tobacco retail licensing requirements reduce teens' risk of using e-cigarettes

Some parents have used nicotine gums and other smoking cessation tools for their children under the supervision of a doctor. Levy said this could be tricky, as some children might use these products as a "bridge" between vows and tobacco products.

There are no FDA-approved nicotine cessation products for users of electronic cigarettes under the age of 18, but the agency plans to hold a public hearing to discuss the appropriateness of approving prescription drugs. stop smoking for children to get rid of the vape.

Medications may be important in some advanced cases, but they are not enough, said Levy; children also need "good, solid advice".

"We end up having to teach kids to manage their cravings, identify high-risk situations and be surrounded by people who use these products," Levy said. "Because the reality is that, for most kids, we treat them and give them back to school, then they go to the bathroom, and everyone is on Juing."

Aussem said that parents can also use positive reinforcement to offer their children something "more interesting for them than vaping", and that they can impose negative consequences. But it's important to follow, she added. For example, many parents may threaten to take their children's phones with them, but return them a few days later because it is difficult to reach them.

Aussem also recommended Smokefree Teen, from the National Cancer Institute, which offers a smartphone app and a text messaging program aimed at teenagers. They may be more likely to quit than those who try without help, she said.

For many parents, she said, it is important to understand that there may be no quick fix.

Aussem said: "The important thing is to think about the following question: how will I intervene and be prepared to see this as a trip?" "