This article is for people who are parents and want to enjoy vape safely around their children. You've probably read plenty of the anti-vape parent articles about talking to your teen and the gateway drug arguments. Most of these conclusions are not drawn from the actual studies being done, but we're not here to talk about that either.
This article is about how someone can add vape to their life if they are a parent. And how someone can add a child to their life if they vape daily. Because let's face it, vape has been around long enough that many of early adopters have been getting married and having kids after making vape became a part of our lives. So today, we're here to talk about how to be a responsible parent with vape of all types and with children of all ages. Whether you are a parent, step parent, cool grandparent, aunt or uncle who occasionally babysits, or just someone thinking about starting a family.
Is E-Liquid Safe Around Kids? - Conditionally
The first and perhaps most important question we could possibly answer for vapers around kids is the safety of e-liquid. The thing is, there's not one straight answer, it's conditional. So we'll break it down.
In simplest terms, plain vape is safe for kids to look at, interact with clouds, and even touch with their hands. But drinking it will make them sick for a few days. And e-liquid that has nicotine or cannabis added should be treated like a poisonous prescription medicine, kept out of reach.
VG is Mostly Safe
Some e-liquid bottles are safe for almost everything but drinking. These are 100% "VG" which stands for Vegetable Glycerine. These are basically cooking oil, which can be used to suspend other things like flavor and concentrates. E-liquid that is pure VG and flavor is exactly like a bottle of cooking oil, safety wise. In other words, it might stain cloth and will make a child a little bit sick to drink. But it's not fatal and most kids won't find it tasty enough to drink if they do get a bottle open. However, if there are other things like nicotine, cannabis, or even PG in the bottle, there may be some amount of risk.
Pure-VG clouds are safe to breathe around your child. Generally we advice keeping children physically out of vape clouds as it can cause very mild dehydration.
PG is Pretty Safe
The second most common type of e-liquid base is "PG" which stands for Propylene Glycol. It's a plastic byproduct that is considered safe by the FDA and is used in things like icing, gummy candies, and lotions. It functions almost the same as VG, in that it acts like an oil and things are suspended in it, and it bubbles nicely into clouds in a vape.
However, some people have an allergic reaction to PG, which can develop over time so is not always immediately evident. This is why PG is phasing out of popularity in favor of all-VG blends.
VG/PG blends of e-liquid with nothing else in them are relatively safe around kids, but keep an eye out for allergic reaction signs if a child comes in contact with any PG liquid or PG clouds.
Flavor is Usually Safe
The flavors used in e-liquid bottles are concentrates of real foods and plants. Many are essential oils and similar concentrations of things like vanilla, mint, ginger, fruits, and other popular flavors. There is nothing in these flavors that should cause any problems if children. However, if you mix your own liquid with bottles of concentrated flavor, be aware of any possible side-effects of the flavors you keep. Some plants have medicinal properties that can be dangerous to children if a large quantity of the concentrated plant is consumed.
Nicotine is Poisonous to Children
Of course, all light-hearted assurances go out the window once nicotine becomes part of the picture. This is why it's impossible to get one clear answer on "Is vape safe?". Flavor, VG, and PG are all relatively safe around children. Provided they don't drink it. But anything with concentrated nicotine should be treated like a prescription drug or a harsh chemical and locked away from children at all times.
Breathing second-hand nicotine vape is less dangerous than cigarette smoke, but it still contains trace amounts of nicotine. It can also be absorbed through the skin so nicotine-laced e-liquid should be kept away from children as well. That said if you treat it like a medicine you can travel and use it while being a responsible caretaker.
Cannabis is Not Safe
Finally on the vape list is cannabis, only legal in some states and unsurprisingly unsafe for children. Cannabis is only safe for fully developed brains and should be treated with the same amount of care as you would with nicotine. E-liquid with cannabis concentrates should not be touched or breathed by children, as their bodies are not ready to process it safely. Make sure to keep all cannabis products and paraphernalia out of the hands of children.
Is it Safe to Vape Around Kids?
As you might have guessed, it depends on what you're vaping. If you are vaping pure VG and flavor, then yes. There has been zero connection in all the recent studies between e-liquid clouds and health problems. It doesn't cause tooth problems, it doesn't cause breathing problems, it carries very little in residual particles.
Plain Flavor Vape As a Parent
The oil vape does slightly dehydrate, meaning you and anyone you vape near should drink more water and juice in a day. And in general, it's polite not to blow clouds in anyone's face, whether or not they are a child. So if you're vaping pure base and flavor, it is safe to vape next to, in the same room, or in the same vehicle as a child. But crack a window anyway and blow your vape away from the conversation.
Vaping Nicotine As a Parent
So you vape nicotine instead of smoking, good for you. But how does this mesh with a child in your life? Honestly, most of your courtesy mannerism should stay the same. But with less petrifying fear that your second-hand smoke drifting in from the open patio door will give anyone cancer. Nicotine vape is much safer than cigarette smoke both going into your lungs and coming out as clouds. It doesn't include tar or fiberglass or carcinogens. It doesn't cause emphysema or lung cancer. But it does still contain trace amounts of nicotine.
So as a vaping parent or caretaker who vapes nicotine e-liquid, use the old-fashioned cigarette courtesy rules with confidence that a little ventilation will be enough. An open window, a kitchen or bathroom fan, or a vaping patio should allow you to easily keep the nicotine vape safely away from children. And, of course, remember to keep your e-liquid locked away and in child-proof containers. Exposure can be very dangerous to kids and pets.
Vaping Cannabis As a Parent
The cannabis debate has been a heated one. But there's no divide on child exposure. If you vape cannabis for recreational or medicinal purposes, remember that, like nicotine, the clouds still contain trace amounts that are not good for children. Take your vape outside, open windows, and use ventilation to make sure any children in your care do not interact with cannabis e-liquid or clouds. CBD e-liquid has been found to be less harmful to children but is still medicinal and therefore exposure should be by the child's doctor's prescription only.
Vape Tips for Parents
As a vaping parent, the way you keep your e-liquid and vape rig can have a big impact. Ideally, you want gear that is easy to maintain and bottles that are impossible for your children to get into. Every parent should have a case for vape supplies that holds everything you need to maintain and enjoy vaping on the go. In fact, you may also want a caddy for the car if you get your vape time on the commute.
Set Up a Vaping Spot at Home
One of the best ways to enjoy vaping as a responsible parent is to set up one place at home where you can always vape safely. It may be on a porch, a balcony, or the far corner of your bedroom. The key is to have ventilation and make sure your child knows to stand a few feet away when you're in the vaping spot. Children are very adaptive and will happily over a line of tape on the floor or an invisible doorway barrier if you reward them for doing so. Then you can parent and vape at the same time, while keeping children safely distant.
Make Vape Maintenance Routine
Finding time to maintain your vape is nearly impossible, no matter what model you invest in. But making it a routine is something parents do well. Learn how to unwind in the evening cleaning and re-fitting your vape rig and it will always be sparkling-clean ready for your next delicious tank of high-quality e-liquid.
Explain Vaping to Your Child
And the best way to make sure your child is always vape-safe is to explain the situation to them. If you vape nicotine, cannabis, or some other medicine, explain that your clouds are a medicine that would make the child sick. And that you work really hard to keep them out of the clouds even if you enjoy them. Most children who are old enough to understand will then helpfully stay away or upwind if you're outdoors together.
It is absolutely possible to vape and be a great parent. If you vape plain e-liquid, then your lifestyle barely needs to change at all. And if you vape nicotine or cannabis, you already know the drill about keeping clouds away from others out of politeness. For any parents or future caretakers worried about vaping around children, simply give them the same courtesy you would a non-vaper of any age and everything should be fine.