School rules against vaping: Have the changes helped?

The e-cigarette phenomenon has spread to most every part of the globe. Qatar started exploring the dangers of vape devices more than two years ago.

Claire R. and Rida F.

Vaping is a current buzzword at ASD, and as new studies globally release more information about its impact on health, ASD’s administration has grown increasingly concerned with helping students avoid e-cigarettes.

In fact, this year, the administration installed vaping detectors in several places in the school.

Ms. Jan Farmer, high school associate principal, points out, however, that disciplinary action is never the first option for administration. According to her, ASD operates under a “prevention first” approach. This means that if a student with an addiction comes forward to anyone in the ASD staff/faculty there are no disciplinary consequences. Students will only face disciplinary action, as outlined in the student handbook, if they are caught vaping.

Furthermore, the school is embracing the approach, through a contract with Freedom from Chemical Dependency, an organization that comes to the school every other year to raise awareness about chemical dependency. Although all students were required to attend these educational sessions last school year, they may not have known that FCD and the administration have also been educating parents. The principals have released several vaping articles on Sahifa for parents’ information, and they have discussed the subject at numerous parent advisory forums.

The best way to reach students, Farmer claims, is through advisories and assemblies where school administrators and faculty can have face-to-face conversations with students.

One thing that students may wonder, though, is what impact the administration’s work is having. Because of the newness of the technology behind vape detectors, Farmer opted out of commenting on their effectiveness. Instead, she reiterated the statement that “[students should] not vape” and that they should get help if they are suffering from an addiction.

One student who was caught vaping in the past stated that he hopes ASD will lessen punishments in the future. He said that vaping “wasn’t detrimental to anyone except myself, and the punishment was like a full week of suspension and we were taken out of extracurriculars the following year.

“I have been placed in student-study hall for an entire year,” he went on. “The punishment is equivalent to bullying or harassing someone to an extreme degree, and I don’t think a personal addiction to nicotine should be placed in the same category.” He also stated that if he had known earlier that he could come forward about his vaping addiction with no consequences, he would have “come clean.”