Talking about vaping with young people

Use of e-cigarettes, or vapes, has been increasing in Australia - especially among young people. 

In response to the growing concern, the Government has changed how vapes are regulated.1

While we don’t know the long-term health impacts yet, evidence suggests that vaping isn’t risk-free.

Here, we look at how to talk about vaping with young people, to find out more about vaping visit our website:


Vaping and young people

Vaping in Australia

Helping young people to quit vaping

Changes to vaping rules in Australia

Why do some young people vape?

Young people use drugs, including nicotine, for a variety of reasons - and not all use leads to addiction.

Young people might use alcohol and other drugs – including vapes - to:

  • experiment
  • feel good
  • fit in
  • relax
  • cope with feelings of stress or anxiety.2,3

Experimentation and risk-taking is a part of adolescent development. 

Teenagers may experiment or take risks to develop their identity, gain experience, and seek peer approval.4

Young people smoking cigarettes

Talking about vaping with young people.

Are you concerned about a young person who may be vaping? Having a conversation about it might feel tricky, but it’s always a good idea!

vaping graphic 1

Start with information

Get the key facts, learn the basics about vaping, and think through what you want to say. Consider some questions you might be asked, and how you want to respond.

vaping graphic 2

Approach it calmly

You might want to start the conversation when you’re doing an activity together, such as driving or preparing a meal. Keep things casual and relaxed. You might want to use something you saw in a TV show or on the news as a chance to bring up the issue.

vaping graphic 3

Don’t make assumptions

If you think they may have tried vaping, avoid making accusations. Going through someone’s space looking for evidence isn’t recommended, because it can undermine trust.

vaping graphic 4

Avoid judging or lecturing

Listen to their point of view and keep it a two-way conversation. Being mindful to keep your body language and tone respectful can go a long way. If they have tried vaping, try asking questions like: ‘what made you want to try?’ and ‘how did it make you feel?’

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Don’t exaggerate

Make sure you are honest with them about potential harms and avoid exaggerated statements.

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Focus on health and explain your concerns

Focus on how you care about them and want them to be healthy. For example, if they are vaping you can say that you are concerned about the risk of health harms, and we don’t know what the long term impacts might be yet. 

  1. Gartner C. Will the latest vaping reforms find the right balance and what will they mean for recreational vapers?The University of Queensland [Internet]. 2023 [24.01.2024].
  2. Positive Choices. Why do young people use drugs? 2022 [19.04.2023].
  3. Gray KM, Squeglia LM. Research Review: What have we learned about adolescent substance use? Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry [Internet]. 2018 [19.04.2023]; 59(6):[618-27 pp.].
  4. NSW Health.Substance Use and Young People Framework 2014 [19.04.2023].