A team from the University of Southampton is using virtual reality to warn school pupils against vaping.

The Russell Group university has worked with teenagers to design educational resources to warn of the dangers.

They have produced teaching materials and lesson plans for use in the classroom, along with the virtual reality experience that emphasises the peer pressure teens feel regarding vaping – and the health dangers of the habit.

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The materials have been released in the same week as the Government announced a ban on disposable vapes in an effort to tackle the rise in youth vaping.

The team from the university’s LifeLab, a teaching lab that provides in-school and in-lab sessions for school students on the science behind health messages, worked with teenagers from Southampton and wider Hampshire.

The virtual reality experience takes the headset-wearer on a walk down a city street to see if they can ‘escape the vape’ and spot danger zones.

The participant is bombarded with advertising and peer pressure to try vaping.

Madeleine Harris, 17, is one of LifeLab’s Youth Panel members who was involved in creating the resources. She said: “This is important because of the high numbers of young people vaping.

"It’s become a social activity for young people and, if you are surrounded by people who want to vape, you are more likely to want to vape to fit in with the group.

"I’m very proud of this work and hope it will have a lot of impact.”

Dr Kath Woods-Townsend, LifeLab Programme Manager, said: “We welcome the ban on disposable vapes, which can only be a good thing, but more needs to be done to educate our young people about why vaping is dangerous.

"We have co-created these resources with teenagers themselves to ensure the messages are effective, engaging and meaningful to the young people we are trying to reach.”