A mother has filed a formal complaint after teachers confiscated her 14-year-old son’s e-cigarette, claiming he needs it to kick his 10-a-day cigarette habit. Mason Dunn had his electronic device taken away after staff found him ‘vaping’ on school premises.
His mother Sue, aged 42, said Mason had started smoking at the age of 12 following the death of his father – and said the family had been trying to help him quit since they found out last year. She said patches and other quitting methods had not helped – and it was only when his older brother bought him an e-cigarette at the start of the summer holidays that he finally started to cut down.
Mrs Dunn marched down to Kearsley Academy in Radcliffe, Greater Manchester, to confront teachers, but said they refused to back down and allow him to use the device on school grounds – even if he promised not to do so in view of younger children. Mason said he is now back to smoking normal cigarettes, despite the e-cigarette being returned to him. “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.”
School headteacher Suzanne Pountain said staff had a “duty of care” to students to uphold Kearsley being a non-smoking school. “As a healthy school we encourage students to lead healthy lifestyles and to make healthy choices. We offer students access to the school nurse and if necessary pathways such as the smoke cessation programme, 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,” she said.