Winners of Western Sydney Local Health District’s (WSLHD) Youth Voices: Unpacking Vaping poster competition were announced this week with poster entries covering a range of topics including vaping health harms, environmental impacts and advertising tricks used to promote vapes to young people.
The competition for high school students of western Sydney received 69 entries and was jointly hosted by the WSLHD Prevention Education and Research Unit (PERU) and the WSLHD Health Promotion team.
First prize winner, Sonya, a year eight student from William Clarke College, was prompted to enter the competition because she is concerned about the increase in vaping among young people.
“I wanted to highlight to my friends how harmful vaping is,” she said. “Vapes are often brightly coloured and advertised as having fruity flavours, drawing the attention of people my age.
“But the truth is, they are harmful to our health. I want to get the conversation started, so my friends can get the real facts about the risks of vaping to our health.”
Sonya was very pleased to be crowned the winner of the competition saying “Wow, this is so amazing and I would like to thank Western Sydney Local Health and the Centre for Population Health for giving the high school students of western Sydney an opportunity to be heard over such an important issue.”
PERU Clinical Professor, Smita Shah OAM, was thrilled by the students’ engagement and quality of the posters received.
Our young people are highly engaged and aware of the social and cultural influences that have contributed to vaping among their peers. The poster entries have provided a valuable insight into the experiences of young people.”Professor Smita Shah OAM
With the recent release of the ‘Do you know what you’re vaping?’ campaign from NSW Health, high schools in western Sydney have supported efforts to raise awareness of the harms of vaping with their students.
Deputy Principal of Model Farms High School, Rebecca Smith, was elated to accept a $500 prize for the greatest number of students (35% of entries) to enter the poster competition.
The prize will fund a vaping prevention mural on their school grounds featuring poster competition entries.
“The poster competition enabled our students to have a voice, to learn and to share their insights with their peers about the dangers of vaping. As a school, we are very proud of their creativity, critical thinking, courage and thoughtfulness,” Rebecca said.
A feedback survey conducted with students who entered the poster competition found that 89% felt the poster initiative had greatly increased their understanding of the harms caused by vaping and that 100% of students understood that vaping is harmful to one’s health.
PERU is currently undertaking a research study, Unpacking Vaping in Schools with students, teachers and parents in western Sydney to inform school-based vaping prevention strategies.