Just because vaping is less harmful than smoking, doesn’t mean it’s harmless; this is the message health experts want parents to give to their children.

The use of e-cigarettes continues to grow, because of the perception that it isn’t as unhealthy as regular tobacco and because of the variety of flavors now coming onto the market.

Teens are beginning to hold “vaping parties” where they exchange flavors and devices, and hold “cloud competitions” to see who can come up with the best smoke-blowing tricks.

Chelsea Bagby with the Marion County Public Health Department says because vaping is such a new trend, there’s little health research on its long-term effects; but they do use nicotine, which is a known addictive substance with impacts to health.

She tells KNIA/KRLS News parents should warn their children by approaching them with some knowledge of the facts about vaping, and some willingness to understand where their kids are coming from.

“Trying to be open and understanding and maybe even empathetic, and hear their point of view as well…ask they why, why do you want to vape, and build a conversation on that,” Bagby says.

“I think it’s a mix of being equipped with the facts, and then being open to hearing your child.”

Parents will find it helpful to familiarize themselves with some of the terms used in vaping, and the types of vaping gear now being used; for example, some e-cigarettes now being produced resemble flash drives instead of traditional cigarettes or other smoking materials.