Sage Advice: Teenage Daughter Has Started Vaping


Vaping Teenager Image

Dear Amy: I am the proud mom of two great kids, 23 and 19. My 19-year-old daughter was diagnosed with a learning difference as a young girl. She has since overcome most of her issues through hard work and determination, though she still needs accommodations. She has gotten in to four colleges so far – she is a wonderful, sweet and engaged girl with whom I’ve always had a special bond.

Recently while I was looking for change, I found a vape and a vaping liquid in her purse. I feel awful! I’m afraid to confront her, as it will look like I was snooping AND that I don’t trust her.

If my husband finds out he will completely flip out.

Amy, she’s 19, and a really good kid. What should I do?

– Worried Mom in California

Dear Worried: Didn’t you do anything unwise or unhealthy at her age? (I did, and still do.) Unless you can manage to discuss this calmly, reasonably and without freaking out, then what you should do is … nothing.

You seem to imply that this choice might be because of your daughter’s learning challenges. I think this proves that she is an on-target 19-year-old. She will head to college soon. She will encounter many opportunities to engage in unhealthy practices.

Importantly, new restrictions in California will soon make purchasing e-cigarettes illegal for anyone under 21. While vaping is definitely not healthy, I believe the jury is still out on how unhealthy it is.

Make sure your daughter understands that she is responsible for her own health and well-being, and that this is a big and lifelong job.


In the tradition of the great personal advice columnists, Chicago Tribune’s Amy Dickinson is a plainspoken straight shooter who relates to readers of all ages. She answers personal questions by addressing issues from both her head and her heart. A solid reporter, Dickinson researches her topics to provide readers with informed opinions and answers. Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068

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