Credit By: Curly Tales
In Dubai, 12-Year-Old Encounters Shocking Reality of School Vaping
M.A., a 12-year-old student attending a school in Dubai, was taken aback when a senior student offered her a vape in the school restroom. Recounting the incident, M.A. said, “She mentioned it was her 12th vape and that she had never been caught. She even revealed that her 10-year-old brother was also into vaping.”
Alarming Surge in Vaping Among School Students Raises Concerns
Experts in the UAE warn about the escalating number of school students adopting vaping habits. Bushra Khan, a transformation coach at Wellth who specializes in addictions, noted a significant rise in teenage clients seeking assistance to quit vaping.
“Adolescence is a phase of exploration and experimentation,” Khan explained. “Teenagers might venture into vaping out of curiosity or to experience it firsthand, often unaware of the potential risks. Some teens view vaping as a coping mechanism for stress or emotional struggles as a temporary escape or relief.”
Challenges in Detection and Prevention
School principals have acknowledged the growing prevalence of vaping among students. One principal, requesting anonymity, shared the difficulties in tackling the issue.
“Vapes are harder to identify than cigarettes due to their lack of a noticeable nicotine smell,” the principal explained. “Moreover, their compact size makes them easy to conceal. While we conduct bag checks, students often hide vapes on their person, and we cannot physically search them. We’re grappling with numerous challenges.”
Turning Vaping Incidents into Learning Opportunities
In response to the vaping surge, some schools are transforming cases of vaping into educational opportunities. Robert Rinaldo, Head of School at GEMS American Academy – Abu Dhabi, explained, “We’ve engaged the support of the Abu Dhabi community, including the police, to educate students about the legal implications of vaping underage, its adverse effects on development, and the addictiveness of nicotine.”
Rinaldo emphasized that student-led initiatives are also promoting awareness. “Through these projects, students assume a proactive role in influencing their peers, advocating for healthy choices and overall well-being.”
The Lure of Vaping and Misconceptions