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What’s 95% safer than tobacco? Not vapes, say experts

More and more studies are showing that vaping is not harmless and that electronic smokes should be regulated the same way as traditional cigarettes — and governments are getting on board. A lung health expert from the University of Cape Town tells Mia Malan why in the February edition of Health Beat, Bhekisisa’s monthly TV programme.

Why is TB called the ‘disease of paper’ in Eastern Cape villages?

The words we use to describe diseases tell us more about how people experience living with it. The isiXhosa word for tuberculosis, isifo sephepha, is a case in point. Understanding where it comes from can help to break down the stigma around the disease.

Does SA’s biggest killer show up in your party’s manifesto?

A curable and preventable disease is South Africa’s biggest killer. Is your political party going to do something about it — and does it show up in their election manifesto?

Street vendors, vetkoeks and Cokes: ‘The food tastes good and is cheap’

About one in five teens in South Africa are overweight or have obesity, with eating unhealthy foods being a big part of the problem. But changing policies to make cities healthier can help school kids eat better — and set them up for a healthier future. Cape Town is part of a project to do this.

Why 32 000 SAns could die if we don’t switch to greener power earlier

South Africa needs to produce more electricity to end loadshedding. But at the same time we also need to move away from coal-fired power to fight global warming. In this tug-of-war, people who live close to power stations will keep falling ill from breathing in dirty air.

Wake up: Sleeplessness is a public health crisis

When you’re not feeling rested and refreshed after a night’s sleep, your thinking is fuzzy, your reaction time drops and you feel sluggish at work. But more and more research shows that sleeping poorly is a big public health worry. Today, on World Sleep Day, two experts explain why.

The psychology of climate anxiety

Anxiety, guilt and anger. That’s how young people in 10 countries felt when asked how they feel about climate change. For South Africans violence, unemployment and HIV were bigger concerns but, as natural disasters increase so will the mental health problems they cause. Tanya Pampalone’s newsletter on the link between climate change and health launches today. Sign up for helpful news, resources and research.

[VIDEO] Here’s how e-cigarettes turn juice into clouds

When e-cigarettes were first tested by cigarette smokers, there were complaints about them being too smooth. So propylene glycol was added to give users that harsh hit at the back of the throat they were used to. A lung doctor explains why the clouds of smoke that accompany vapes aren’t clean steam, but chemicals.

[VIDEO] How to start your next HPV test at home

Cervical cancer affects almost 11 000 women a year in South Africa, leading to about 5 000 deaths. It starts with an infection by the human papillomavirus (HPV). If the infection is caught early enough, it can be treated to prevent cancer from developing in the first place. Doing a self-test for an HPV infection can help. Here’s how it works.

#TeamBhekisisa | How Soley, Bhekisisa’s programme associate keeps our operations running smoothly

Curious about how we run our operations? Meet Soley Crooks Chissano – our programme associate – the brains behind our newsletter, social media and events.

[WATCH] Why some parents are led to think e-cigarettes are healthy (they’re not)

“We are not saying tobacco should be banned,” says Tshweu Mosedi, an anti-tobacco activist who wants to keep e-cigarettes away from kids. He supports the new Tobacco Bill that will restrict vape marketing and sales. The Health Beat team meets Mosedi in Katlehong on Joburg’s East Rand, where fruity flavours and flashy adverts have tricked youngsters and parents into believing that e-cigarettes are healthy.

Stigma, inaction and cost: Will SA treat obesity with lessons learned from HIV?

About two-thirds of women and almost a third of men in South Africa are overweight or have obesity. It’s a new public health threat, which, if not acted on now, will have serious consequences for the wellbeing of the country. But rather than making it a game of blame and shame, there are two things that can be done right now.

A huff and a puff: Could nicotine pouches put an end to smoking?

Dive into the world of "upper deckys" and "Zynbabwes”. Nicotine pouches have sparked a global sensation, hailed by some as the future of tobacco cessation. Yet, behind the catchy nicknames and promises of harm reduction lie the exploitation of legal loopholes and questionable science. What’s really the deal?

Suspicion, stigma and systems: Africa’s healthcare story

At a conference towards the end of last year, some of the great names in African public healthcare shared their lessons about what can — and can’t — work on the continent, from setting up new hospitals to implementing national health insurance. Sean Christie was there.

Health Beat #16 | Why the upcoming Tobacco Bill treats e-cigarettes like smokes

Are e-cigarettes healthier than traditional smokes? The vaping and tobacco industries would have us believe that they are, but doctors and researchers are sceptical. We find out why young people are getting hooked on nicotine-enhanced fruity flavours — and break down the potentially deadly consequences.

SA doctors make up to 40 times more than those in Kenya and Nigeria

Government doctors in South Africa aren’t paid enough, says the South African Medical Association. Yet in a month, some earn up to three times more than their counterparts in other middle-income countries in Africa. What do our salary scales mean for filling vacant posts?