Supporting Youth in a Tobacco and Cannabis Era

February 7, 2024

When addressing any issue that could negatively affect the well-being of youth, information, education, alternatives, and support are all important. The legalization of marijuana and the ease of access to tobacco vaping products have created an environment where young people include smoking in their socialization with their peers.

Engaging in substance use opens the door for experimentation in other risky behaviors. Youth are often influenced by the behavior of their peers, and they often make choices that align them with whatever the group chooses. They often do not consider the short- or long-term impact of substance use.

Information and Education

Providing young people with information about the effects of cannabis and tobacco vaping on their minds and bodies is a way to express care and concern for them. Educating them on the potential harm that may be caused by their use of these products can remind them of the danger posed by smoking. Helping youth to identify alternatives to substance use such as healthier ways to socialize, and more positive peer group activities may steer young people away from engaging in the youth smoking trend. Supporting youth as they explore and push boundaries during their teen years creates opportunities to stay engaged and connected, which should facilitate keeping lines of communication open.

Guidance and Support

Adults, including parents, counseling professionals, educators, doctors, and families will all be part of the response team for this growing population of substance users. Therapists and parents are especially important parts of the team that work together to provide the structure for addressing this issue when a teen becomes involved in vaping. Recognizing the changes that take place in youth who are smoking is often the beginning of a long journey to abstinence. Therapeutic approaches may include motivational interviewing which would support the client’s exploration into the behavior and may promote a change in attitude about using. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy may also be effective in helping youth problem-solve, rethink, and respond effectively to substance use impulses and triggers.

Wedad Omer, Resident in Counseling 

If you or your teen are looking for professional support for substance use, get connected with The Wise Family.

Until next time, Be Wise!