Smok­ing a no-goer

Kapi-Mana News - - EDUCATION - By KRIS DANDO

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.

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