Most parents would applaud a school for discouraging children from using e-cigarettes, but that’s not the case for Sue Dunn. She is furious with her teen’s school and publicly expressing concern after administrators confiscated her son’s ecig. Dunn said he 14-year-old son, Mason, has been smoking for two years. It started after his father died and he had been smoking for a year before his mom caught on. Once she realized the teen was sneaking cigarettes, she realized he had a major problem and was regularly smoking ten cigarettes per day. After multiple attempts to help him quit, she provided him with an electronic cigarette as a last resort.
When Mason started using the ecig over the summer, he was able to completely quit smoking. So when school started back up, Dunn said she talked to her son’s teachers and explained the situation. She promised that Mason would not be using the ecig in front of other students, but he would need it to stay on track so that he would not fall back into his old tobacco addiction.
It wasn’t long before teachers spotted Mason with the ecig on campus and confiscated it. The school principal explained that no students were allowed to use ecigs or cigarettes on campus. But Dunn feels like the school’s anti-vaping policy might be doing more harm that good.
“I am not happy about the fact that he smokes in the first place, but we have tried everything to help him stop,” she said. “We have tried patches and have been to the doctor, but nothing worked, so my eldest son bought him an e-cigarette and it has helped him stop smoking cigarettes. He has really made an effort.”
When the school took away Mason’s e-cigarettes, his mother said the results were disastrous. “He came home from school in a terrible state, because he needed nicotine. We have tried to wean him off the e-cigarettes as well, but it is helping. If it helps to prevent people from developing cancer at a later stage, I think it should be allowed.” Since Mason was forbidden to vape at school, he has started smoking again.
Mason told reporters that he feels like he just can’t win. “It feels like the school don’t want me to stop smoking,” he said. “It is really irritating because they shout at me when I have got a cigarette and tell me to stop and then when I try to quit, they tell me to stop doing that as well. It is really hard and I don’t know what to do next.”
Suzanne Pountain, the principal at Kearsley Academy, said the no vaping rule will not be changed or amended, even for students like Mason. “Kearsley Academy is a no-smoking site. We have a duty of care to our students to reinforce this and discourage them from doing so. As a healthy school we encourage students to lead healthy lifestyles and to make healthy choices.”
The principal insisted that Mason had plenty of opportunities to successfully kick the tobacco habit and did not need to vape at school. “We offer students access to the school nurse and if necessary pathways such as smoke cessation program, if this is needed. We will continue to work with and support Mason within the guidelines of our policy. For the safeguarding of all our students, smoking, including the use of any nicotine inhalation devices, are not allowed.”
Do you think the school is taking the right approach here? Should parents buy ecigs for their teens to help them stop smoking?