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Poll Reveals Many Parents Unaware of Children’s Exposure to Vaping

Parents’ responses to questions about children’s vaping revealed a big divide between what they think is happening and what is really going on

By Physician’s Briefing Staff HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, March 21, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Four out of five U.S. parents believe their preteen and teenage children are clear on the risks that electronic cigarettes pose, and only a few think their child actually vapes, according to the results of a survey released by the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health. Conducted in February, the surveyed population consisted of parents who have at least one child between 11 and 18 years old.

Sarah J. Clark, and colleagues from the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, say the findings point to a potential disconnect between what parents think is going on and the real deal when it comes to vaping among American youth.

The results of the survey revealed that roughly nine in 10 parents said vaping is addictive; about eight in 10 said their child knows about the health risks; and 48 percent think they would definitely know and 40 percent said they would probably know if their child was vaping. How would they know? About two-thirds said their children would tell them, while 57 percent said they would come across vaping paraphernalia among their child’s possessions. Nearly half (48 percent) said they would smell it, and 37 percent said other people would tell them.

As for consequences for young vapers, parental opinion was “all over the place,” Clark told HealthDay. While seven in 10 said children should be held responsible for their actions, about half said the blame should fall on vape sellers. Some said the parents themselves should be held to account.

About three in 10 said their child should be suspended if caught vaping in school and about two in 10 said they should be barred from school activities. Others favored a less harsh punishment like detention or a warning. About 5 percent said there should be no consequences. In the event a child is caught vaping by police outside of school, 30 percent of parents favored mandated community service and 26 percent favored counseling. A smaller percentage supported a warning or a fine. Nearly 10 percent said there should be no punishment.

On the subject of prevention, seven in 10 said better enforcement of retail restrictions would help, while almost 60 percent favored hiking vape taxes. About half said vape advertising on social media should be limited, and three in 10 supported warning labels on vape packaging.

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