Three year 8 students from Ashburton Borough School have started an online campaign and petition against vaping.
Twelve-year-olds Tank Peng, Kymani Waaka and Zain Talha said the aim was to raise awareness of the increase in vaping among youth.
It was a topic they felt passionate about, so chose to research it as part of their senior year ‘‘changemaker project’’.
‘‘Young people that start smoking are doing it illegally, but our research found that vaping wasn’t good either,’’ Tank said.
Vaping increased the chance of lung disease and heart problems, they said.
Part of their investigation was speaking to family and friends to find out about their use of the e-cigarettes.
The website, at vapestop0.wordpress.com, identifies the harmful effects of vaping, and includes a guide for quitting and information on accessing support .
The petition, Vape Free Ashburton, is at ipetitions.com/petition/vape-free-ashburton, and has so far been signed by 15 people.
The trio hoped to get the support of the district council, in order to elevate the visibility of their cause and raise awareness.
The trio and their 36 classmates are under the guidance of Year 8 teachers Angela Winchester and Rebecca Koopmans.
The pupils have chosen a range of topics for the changemaker project including the importance of respecting names from other cultures, planting trees, and fixing the Allenton bike track.
Koopmans said pupils had based their choices on an issue they had noticed within the community, additionally aligning with UN Sustainable Development goals, and framed as part of the Young Enterprise NZ programme to inspire students to discover their potential.
‘‘It’s just a really nice way for the kids to finish their year 8, tying it in with a bit of a legacy project and making a difference in the community,’’ she said.