Purposeful, optimistic parent-child relationships scale back the chance of teenagers vaping
Research suggested that strategies to prevent vaping in adolescents may differ from those used to discourage adolescents from smoking cigarettes. “E-cigarette use by young people is at epidemic proportions, with 27 percent of teenagers surveyed saying they have vaped in the past 30 days,” said lead author Nicholas Szoko, MD, a fellow in the Department of Adolescents and Young People’s Medicine Adults at UPMC Children’s.
“And many of the traditional methods we think of to counsel teenagers about the dangers of tobacco and drug use may not apply to vaping. Pediatricians and parents need to better understand what motivates young people to give up e-cigarettes, ”added Szoko. Szoko and his colleagues analyzed anonymous questionnaires conducted in collaboration with the Allegheny County Health Department and completed by 2,487 high school students in Pittsburgh Public Schools.
The surveys asked questions to determine whether and how often students used e-cigarettes or other tobacco products, and to determine whether any of the four “protective factors” confirmed by previous research were associated with a lower likelihood of vaping or smoking. The protective factors examined were: 1. Future orientation: beliefs, hopes and goals of a person with regard to the future. Parental Monitoring: Parent-Child Interactions and Communication 3. Social Support: The ability to rely on friends and peers. 4. School affiliation: A sense of belonging and inclusion in school. The study linked both positive forward-thinking and high levels of parental oversight to 10 to 25 percent lower prevalence of recently or ever vaping compared to peers with lower levels of these protective factors. There was no association between social support or school affiliation and e-cigarette use.
All four protective factors were associated with lower prevalence of smoking or the use of other tobacco products, but none were associated with an intention to stop using tobacco products. This suggests that it may be more difficult to encourage quitting once young people start to use tobacco. The researchers note that these results should be studied to develop improved tobacco prevention efforts in adolescents, but it’s not surprising that the results when vaping weren’t exactly the same as when smoking.
“E-cigarettes are positioned and marketed differently than tobacco cigarettes. They have been popularized as a means of smoking cessation, and previous research has shown that the various flavors and trending ads for vaping are attractive to teenagers, ”said Szoko. “We also know that vaping stimulates teenagers to switch to smoking cigarettes and other substances. So it stands to reason that we may need other approaches to stop children from vaping than we do to stop them from smoking, ”added Szoko.
Senior writer Alison Culyba, MD, PhD, MPH, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Public Health, and Clinical and Translational Science at Pitt, noted that frameworks are already in place to help clinicians take advantage of forward-thinking and parental supervision in the Promote health care for young people. which bodes well for developing e-cigarette intervention programs to strengthen these protective factors. “Forward thinking is something very tangible that paediatricians and other healthcare providers can talk about with teenagers in the clinic – engaging conversation is something we love to do with our patients,” said Culyba, also an adolescent medicine director and director of the Empowering Teens to Thrive- Program at UPMC Children’s.
“And we can help parents master their roles while their children are pre- and teenagers and help encourage open conversations with their children about what they encounter,” concluded Culyba.