You and your best friend always have lunch together, but today, she ditches you and says she has to work on a project with some other friends for class. You’re cool with that except for the fact that she’s been acting a little weird lately:
- She’s going to the bathroom a lot during class
- She goes outside for every passing period, even when her next classroom is just down the hall
- She always smells like fruity bubble gum, and
- the other day, she had a nose bleed during free period
After school you both go to practice. While changing in the locker room, you notice it looks like she’s lost a little weight. You’re proud of her because she’s been wanting to be a little healthier. But, during practice, she’s getting winded. She doesn’t have the stamina to keep up. You go over to her house after practice for dinner and to study for your upcoming Chemistry test. On the desk in her room sit some weird looking USB and pencil sharpeners next to a candle. It’s all starting to add up now.
You remember about a month back when hanging out at the first football game of the year, you were both offered a vape. You guys tried it and totally liked it, but it didn’t seem like your thing. You’re wondering now, if your friend felt differently, she is definitely showing vaping symptoms.
Vaping is super hard to detect because it’s so easy to hide, so don’t blame yourself if you don’t see the signs. But, if you suspect something, here’s some additional vaping symptoms to be on the lookout for:
- Dry nose, throat or mouth which results in drinking more, craving more salt or spice, nose bleeds and sores in the mouth
- Secretive attitude, are found behind closed doors more often
- Change in sleep patterns
- Jittery when using caffeine
- Anxiety, irritability, mood swings, anger
- Can’t sit still for long periods of time
- Change in eating habits, nausea, gastrointestinal issues
A lot of students don’t realize that they’re addicted to vaping until they’ve totally lost control. If they want to quit, they desperately need a strong support system around them. Many have tried to quit on their own, but have failed. Having a community of people to turn to during their struggle is often the game changer.
How to Help a Friend Who’s Addicted to His or Her Vape
- Do Your Research
Know the facts about vaping. You’ve already detected vaping symptoms, so that’s the first step. The more you know, the better prepared you’ll be to help your friend during her most significant time of need. There’s a lot of lies about vaping. Learn the truth so you’re better informed. Having some of this insight might help your friend see how important it is to quit.
Here’s some great organizations to look into who have the facts:
- https://www.thetruth.com OR Truth Initiative
- My Life, My Quit
- PAVe – Parents Against Vaping E-cigarettes
We used these resources to compile a series of articles too:
- Talk with them
Rather than confronting the issue, ask your friend what she sees, understands or experiences. Then, use your research to speak about the facts with genuine care and concern for your friend. Encourage her to do her own research.
Clearly and confidently state that you disapprove of her habit, and you firmly believe she should quit. Don’t give up until she’s started to quit. After this, your role and tone should shift towards one of encouragement.
- Reach out to other people
You can’t be your friend’s only support. You need to find a group of people who can be there for your friend during some very difficult times. Quitting is not easy and your friend will need a lot of support. If you know the friends she vapes with, perhaps avoid them because they may increase the temptation to vape. But, help her reach out to her family, additional friends, your coach, youth group leaders or church pastor, teachers and any other individual she trusts.
Also, tell your friend to text “Ditch Vape” to 88709 for This Is Quitting (TIQ) texting support. And, encourage your friend to visit her doctor. Her doctor may have additional resources or information on quitting, and may need to check on her health.
- Be ready and armed
Have a plethora of ideas to help distract your friend when she texts you ready for a distraction. Knowing some of your friend’s triggers can be helpful, because then you can plan ahead and be ready in advance. Whenever she feels a trigger or a craving, encourage her to text you, and be ready to distract her with some fun and helpful activities:
- Watch a favorite movie
- Give each other a mani/pedi
- Head to a favorite ice cream parlor or coffee shop
- Make a fun dessert (preferably with chocolate)
- Snack on fruits and veggies or craft your own smoothie
- Learn how to make your own fall favorite coffee drink (pumpkin spiced latte anyone?)
- Get some exercise
- Head outside to a park, playground or just a walk around the neighborhood
- Craft some fun DIY projects
- Make a social media video series about your friends journey
- Do a devotional together, pray, read and study God’s Word
- Go shopping – in person or online (take it another step and ask your friend’s mom if she’ll chip in some money)
- Make dinner for the family
Don’t just have distractions ready, also have some gifts or reward to give your friend to celebrate little victories she’s accomplished. These don’t have to be gifts you purchase, but prizes you create. Perhaps give your friend a favorite picture, or design a beautiful bible verse for her to hang on her wall. Make her a cozy pillow, pretty necklace or comforting candle. Or, reward her by posting an embarrassing moment of yourself on your social media channels, or a video of how proud you are of her.
- Little Reminders
Gifts and prizes of success aren’t the only signs of progress your friend needs. She needs verbal reminders of her incredible personality, strength and character. Remind her of how awesome she is and how she is dearly loved (by you and so many other people.)
You saw your friend’s vaping symptoms and you did something about it. You’re an awesome friend. It takes a lot of courage and strength to confront and support a friend who is struggling with addiction. Celebrate your friend’s accomplishment with her, because without your support, she could easily turn back to an addiction that is incredibly difficult to break.