Keeping our Teens Drug and Alcohol Free

Lessons from a Former Teen Vaper:

What Parents Should Know

Under the condition of anonymity, a District 113 student recently shared his knowledge with CTAD about vaping marijuana and why he quit. We thank him for sharing valuable insights that may help parents concerned about their own children.

“Because my friends were vaping, I wanted to try it,” said the high school student and former vaper. “I never wanted to vape tobacco which I thought was gross.”

Before trying it, he took it seriously enough to Google information such as the side effects of CBD and marijuana. With this in mind, parents may want to talk to teens about what information they can trust online, especially considering that both the marijuana and vaping industry have misrepresented the health impact of their products. In this case, the teen felt that vaping marijuana helped him “take the edge off” when he was stressed about school or sports.

Even though you must be 21 years old to purchase vaping products or marijuana in Illinois, he felt it was easy to get. “I bought it from other kids who got it from their older siblings.” He also shared that he once went to a store in Chicago known for selling cartridges to minors and that he connected to college students on Snapchat to buy flavored cartridges.

One of the reasons lawmakers put high taxes on tobacco, alcohol and marijuana is because they know price can be an obstacle for teens. He shared, however, that “if you don’t have a lot of money, you can buy half-used cartridges for $3 or $4.”

Because he knew his parents were in his room to put things away, he was careful about where he kept his vapes, which looked like USB sticks or pens. Those could be hidden in a pencil bag. He also hid them in old board games in his closet, a deck of cards, and an old magic trick box.

What this student perceived as benefits of vaping were eventually offset by the negative effects and how they impacted him. “I started eating a lot more junk food, and I had a hard time getting up for classes because I felt lazy in the mornings. Vaping also started impacting my grades since I was not as motivated to do my work. It also got in the way of sports.”

Combined with the fact that his parents kept warning him about possible lung injuries from vaping, he eventually decided to quit. He said, “I don’t do it anymore because I didn’t like the aftereffects.”