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From the School Nurse

Jenny Shurville —

There are lots of different opinions and beliefs about vaping.

It can be useful to help people quit smoking, and that is what it was originally designed to do. Unfortunately, many people, including school students, are using it all the time, making it an addictive habit. It has become an epidemic in New Zealand. It is an offence to vape if you are under 18 years old in New Zealand.

Vaping refers to the use of an electronic device that heats a liquid, turning it into an aerosol (vapour), which the user then inhales. The vaping liquid (also called e-liquid) typically contains propylene glycol, vegetable glycerine, plus flavours and the option of added nicotine. Some of the liquids have a lot more nicotine in them than cigarettes. Also, some people are adding their own nicotine to the mixture. It has also been found that some of the vapes, that claim they do not have nicotine in them, have been scientifically tested and have been found to contain nicotine. Vaping has not been around long enough for us to know fully the harmful effects that it will cause to people. The most common side effects of vaping include:

- coughing

- dry mouth and throat

- shortness of breath

- mouth and throat irritation

- headaches

It is thought, though, that the long term effects could be conditions such as cardiovascular disease, lung disease, decreased immune system and digestive illnesses. Nicotine has cancer-causing properties.

I hope we can educate, protect and prevent our youth from vaping to protect their health and well-being.