Smoking a no-goer
Adrina Venayagam knows a lot about lung capacity now – enough to ensure she will never take up smoking.
The Tawa College student’s project, ‘‘Breath of Life’’, which looked at the effects of smoking on lungs, earned her the top regional prize for Year 9 students at the recent Wellington Science Fair.
She received prizes from the Wellington Medical Research Foundation and the Cancer Society, and was nominated for Genesis Energy’s Realise the Dream competition, which involved her taking part in a week- long science roadshow from Auckland to Wellington in December.
While Adrina didn’t place at the official prize giving for Realise the Dream, held at Government House, it was a good experience, she says.
‘‘It [the roadshow] was a lot of fun, I really enjoyed it.’’
Adrina’s research for ‘‘Breath of Life’’ involved her surveying 40 people at her parents’ workplace, 20 smokers and 20 nonsmokers, getting them to blow into a peak flow meter. She collated the results and analysed them, getting extra data and help for her project from the Asthma Society.
‘‘I had the idea from some of the smoking advertisements on TV – people see them but continue to smoke and I was interested what effect it [smoking] really has on the lungs.’’
She says for two of the smokers, the news was ‘‘worse than I expected’’, with their lung capacity well into the dangerous zone.
The entire project took her months to put together – after school, in weekends and the holidays. While it does not break new ground, she says it was a valuable undertaking, using her findings to come to conclusions and then present it in a logical fashion.
Adrina intends to participate in the science fair again this year.
Scientific reward: Adrina Venayagam’s project on lungs was a winner with judges at the Wellington Science Fair and she scooped a number of prizes for her endeavour.