For those who aren’t loyal followers of kiddie TV, the Dora the Explorer vaping story is hitting really big right now on social media. According to tabloid journalists, 15-year old actress and voice of the Nickelodeon cartoon character, Fatima Ptacek, was caught vaping a caramel-flavored e-liquid in the bathroom of her private school along with two of her friends. One girl was kicked out of school while Fatima only received a three-day suspension. The third girl received no disciplinary action whatsoever.
Within hours of the event hitting the airwaves, the parents of the youngster who is permanently expelled filed a lawsuit against the Avenues World School, the Manhattan location of the posh teenage melodrama. Mom and Dad are stating that their daughter was nothing more than a “scapegoat” and should be reinstated. They also want the incident voided from her record, and of course, a substantial amount in financial damages. According to the New York Post, the parents have already spent about $10,000 in legal fees on the matter.
Meanwhile, public outrage is rising over the possibility that young Dora the Explorer actress Fatima Ptacek received preferential treatment because of her “celebrity.” Some are even calling for all three girls to be expelled while many in the vaping community believe that the girls should receive a mere slap on the wrist. Meanwhile, topics of peer pressure and teenage bullying are also finding their way into many of the online blogs and Twitter feeds.
While many vaping advocates are quick to point out that the three teenagers were vaping rather than smoking, the Dora the Explorer vaping story and others like it are doing great harm to the vaping industry. Nearly every state in America is either debating or proposing new legislation that classifies vaping as tobacco products. And it’s stories like these that legislators use to help support the need for the harsher vaping restrictions.
Fatima Ptacek is only 15-years old. Legally and morally, she should not be vaping or smoking. How did she get the vaping device in the first place? Thanks to the Internet, any teenager can purchase almost anything without the proper ID, including pornography and even guns in some states. Unfortunately, politicians will use the Dora the Explorer vaping story as a way to demonize vaping instead of what’s really important.
Teenagers make poor choices. It’s part of growing up. But the parents dropped the ball, too. Instead of spending $10,000 to have the daughter’s school record cleared, maybe Mom and Dad should spend this time and energy on teaching their kids not to engage in illegal activities.
Every time an electronic cigarette explodes or a kid gets caught sniffing his father’s stash of e-juice that wasn’t properly stored, the vaping industry as a whole gets the blame. If the Dora the Explorer vaping story teaches us anything, it is the high importance of the vaping community being more diligent about following safe vaping practices and talking to their kids about the dangers of both smoking and vaping.