If you think vaping is safe, think again – that was the message from UCT medical students who visited a Philippi primary school on Monday to warn pupils about the dangers of electronic cigarettes.
The students urged the Khanya Primary School pupils not to give into press pressure, and they showed them how vaping can damage the lungs, causing chronic health problems and, in some cases, even death.
Student Michaela Thomas said they were worried about the impact of vaping on the youth who were drawn to the practice for various reasons, including peer pressure and the desire to fit in.
“The research has shown that vaping is rising for youth especially,” she said, adding that children were being targeted by advertising on social media.
“That is why the popularity among the high school learners is so high. In regards to health effects, it is not as bad as smoking, but it has nicotine in it, and all those negative effects you get from nicotine you will get from vape as well.
“People have died from vaping. People had to have lung surgery due to vaping. A very common health risk is called chemical pneumonitis which is caused by vaping.
“Children have landed in hospitals fighting for their lives. They may not be able to breathe with their own lungs for the rest of their lives.“
A facilitator from UCT’s health science faculty, Christolene Beauzac-Mckay, said the students planned to visit more schools in the area.
“They are hoping to make students more aware of the dangers of smoking and making them more aware that peer pressure is a factor in actually starting vaping.”