Skip to content

10 Signs Your Teen is Vaping

There are several signs your teen is vaping. Parents can look for signs like unusual odors, secretive behavior, vaping devices, changes in health or mood, increased use of air fresheners or perfumes, and unexplained expenses. Recognizing these cues can prompt conversations about vaping, its risks, and healthier lifestyle choices. Early detection is key to addressing this issue effectively.

Cannabis vaping has quickly become a trend among teenagers, often perceived as a less harmful alternative to traditional cannabis consumption methods.

Yet, the effects of vaping cannabis, particularly at a young age, can have significant consequences for both physical health and mental well-being and lead to addiction requiring teen substance abuse treatment.

Identifying the signs that your teenager is vaping cannabis is essential for early intervention. This proactive approach can mitigate health hazards and encourage them to pursue healthier lifestyle choices.

Being aware of these indicators not only empowers parents and guardians to take action but also initiates essential discussions regarding the risks associated with cannabis vaping.

This article delves into ten prevalent signs your teen is vaping cannabis.

10 Signs Your Teen is Vaping

The rise in teen vaping is a growing concern for parents, educators, and health professionals alike. Early detection and intervention can play a pivotal role in preventing the development of marijuana addiction and safeguarding the health of our youth.

Cannabis vaping prevalence has increased among adolescents in the US and Canada, highlighting the need for more effective preventive and response measures (JAMA).

Vaping devices are designed to be discreet, making it challenging for parents to identify their use.

There are identifiable signs that can signal a teen might be vaping. Understanding these signs is the first step in addressing and navigating the issue with sensitivity and support.

Here are ten signs your teen is vaping:

1. Unusual Skunky Odors on Clothing

One of the more discernible indicators of cannabis vaping among teens is the presence of unusual, sweet, or skunky odors on their clothing.

Cannabis vape oils often emit a distinct scent that differs significantly from traditional tobacco products, characterized by a sweet or skunky aroma that does not resemble cigarette smoke. These odors, resulting from the terpenes found in cannabis, can vary from slightly sweet and herbal to notably pungent. Parents may notice these smells on their teens’ clothing or personal space, even if the vaping took place hours earlier.

Understanding that these scents may not always be potent or immediately recognizable as associated with cannabis vaping is key, urging parents to stay alert to any subtle changes in the odor of their teen’s belongings.

Related: The Negative Impact of Teen Marijuana Use

2. Increased Secrecy About Possessions or Activities

Increased secrecy about possessions or activities is a telling sign of vaping among teens.

Adolescents may exhibit more guarded behavior, hiding their belongings or being evasive about where they spend their time and who they’re with. This shift towards privacy can often be a protective measure to hide vaping devices or products.

Teens using vape pens, which can look like USB drives or other commonplace items, might become unusually sensitive about their personal space and belongings.

Parents noticing their teen’s sudden reluctance to share information about their daily activities or discovering hidden items with no clear explanation should consider the possibility of vaping.

A behavior change merits a gentle, open conversation to uncover what’s happening.

3. Sudden, Unexplained Mood Changes or Irritability

Sudden, unexplained mood changes or irritability can be significant signs of cannabis vaping among teens.

THC, the psychoactive component in cannabis, can influence mood and mental state. Adolescents vaping cannabis may exhibit mood swings, irritability, or anxiety as a result of the substance’s effects or withdrawal symptoms when not in use. These emotional shifts can perplex and distress the teenager and their family, often appearing out of character.

Recognizing these changes as possible signs of cannabis use is crucial. Parents noticing such mood variations should approach their teen with concern and empathy, initiating conversations about their observations and extending their support.

4. Unusual, Persistent Cough or Throat Clearing

An unusual, persistent cough or the need to clear one’s throat frequently can also be signs of vaping among teens.

Vaping delivers aerosolized particles into the lungs, which can cause irritation, leading to coughing or throat clearing. Unlike a cough associated with a cold or flu, this cough is persistent and not linked to other symptoms of illness. It’s a physical reaction to the inhalation of foreign substances, and it can be especially noticeable in teens who previously had no issues with coughing.

Parents noticing this symptom in their child should consider it a potential sign of vaping. Addressing the issue directly, focusing on health and well-being, can help start a constructive conversation.

5. Red, Dry Eyes or Excessive Eye Drops Use

Red, dry eyes or the excessive use of eye drops can indicate signs of vaping among teens, mainly if they are vaping substances with cannabis.

The smoke from vaping can irritate the eyes, similar to the way traditional smoke does, leading to redness and dryness. Teens may use eye drops frequently to alleviate these symptoms and to hide the evidence of their vaping habits.

This behavior can be particularly prevalent in those who vape indoors or in poorly ventilated areas where the vapor concentrates.

Parents noticing their teen’s sudden and frequent use of eye drops, coupled with complaints of dry or irritated eyes, should be aware that these could be signs of vaping and warrant a gentle but open discussion about the risks associated with vaping and substance use.

Related: 5 Signs of Addiction in Teens

6. Changes in Eating Habits, Increased Munchies

A noticeable shift towards irregular eating patterns, particularly an increase in cravings for snacks or “munchies,” can be a telltale sign of cannabis vaping among teenagers.

Cannabis stimulates appetite, leading to sudden and intense hunger pangs. Teenagers might exhibit an unusual increase in snacking or a preference for specific types of food, especially those high in sugar or salt. This change is often abrupt and diverges from their regular eating habits.

Observing these dietary changes can offer clues to parents about possible cannabis use, as these alterations in appetite are directly linked to the psychoactive effects of THC, the active compound in cannabis that influences the brain’s hunger signals.

7. Decreased Interest in Previously Enjoyed Activities

A decline in enthusiasm for hobbies and activities once enjoyed can indicate a teenager’s involvement with cannabis vaping.

As cannabis use can affect dopamine levels, the neurotransmitter responsible for pleasure and motivation, teens may lose interest in pursuits that previously brought them joy.

This lack of interest can manifest in skipping practices, disengaging from clubs, or withdrawing from social gatherings they once looked forward to. Such changes could signal a shift in priorities, potentially due to the mood-altering effects of cannabis.

Parents should take note of these behavioral changes, as they can be crucial indicators of substance use affecting their teen’s engagement and satisfaction with life.

8. New, Unexplained Gadgets or USB Drives

The discovery of unfamiliar gadgets, particularly those resembling USB drives, pens, or other electronic devices, in a teen’s possession can be a red flag for cannabis vaping.

These items are often discreet vaping devices designed to vaporize cannabis oil or concentrate.

Unlike traditional smoking paraphernalia, these modern devices can easily be mistaken for everyday objects, making them appealing to teenagers seeking to conceal their cannabis use.

The presence of such gadgets, especially when accompanied by a lack of explanation or vague responses about their purpose, warrants closer attention. Parents should educate themselves about the appearance of these devices to better recognize potential signs of cannabis vaping.

9. Increased Thirst or Dry Mouth Symptoms

Experiencing an unusual increase in thirst or symptoms of dry mouth, also known as “cottonmouth,” can be indicative of cannabis vaping.

These symptoms arise from the interaction of THC with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which can inhibit saliva production, leading to dryness in the mouth. Teens may respond to this uncomfortable sensation by increasing their liquid intake or frequently using lip balm.

While increased thirst and dry mouth can have various causes, when observed in conjunction with other signs of cannabis use, they can serve as important indicators for parents.

Recognizing these physical symptoms can aid in identifying teens who are engaging in cannabis vaping.

10. Changes in Sleep Patterns or Lethargy

Alterations in normal sleep routines or an unusual display of lethargy could be symptomatic of cannabis vaping.

Cannabis has well-documented effects on the sleep cycle, including the potential to induce drowsiness or disrupt normal sleep patterns, leading to insomnia or excessive sleeping at odd hours.

Teenagers using cannabis may show a marked change in their energy levels throughout the day or have difficulty maintaining a consistent sleep schedule. This lethargy can impact their academic performance, mood, and overall health.

Observing such changes in sleep behavior, especially when combined with other signs of cannabis use, can help parents identify and address potential cannabis vaping.

Teen Substance Abuse Treatment

Is your teen struggling with substance abuse and mental health challenges, leaving you feeling helpless and searching for answers?

The Arrow House provides a safe residential environment where teens can heal, supported by innovative therapy techniques and holistic wellness practices in a compassionate residential setting.

Envision your child rediscovering their strength and potential, guided by a caring community of professionals and peers dedicated to empowering them towards recovery and self-discovery.

Take the first step towards a brighter future for your teen by visiting The Arrow House website or calling us for a confidential conversation today.


Recognizing the signs your teen is vaping is a crucial step in helping them navigate away from potential health risks and toward healthier lifestyle choices.

Early intervention, based on observation and open communication, can significantly improve the effectiveness of addressing this issue. As a parent or guardian, your support, understanding, and willingness to engage in meaningful conversations can guide your teen during these challenging times.

If you notice any of these signs and are concerned about your teen’s vaping habits, don’t hesitate to seek professional support and resources designed to assist teens in overcoming substance use.

For personalized help and more information on addressing teen vaping, contact The Arrow House today. Our team is ready to provide your teen with the support and care to navigate this challenge successfully.

Now that you’re aware of the common signs your teen is vaping, you will be prepared to talk with your teen or explore substance abuse treatment.

Posted in