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Cough...Cough...Yeah, I Smoke!

Dindy Jackson
OverviewProcedure for teachersStudent Resources and Materials
Grade Level
Time Alloment
Two 45-minute class periods


Each day approximately 6,000 young people try a cigarette for the first time, and 3,000 of them become daily smokers. Despite a decline in teen smoking after peaking at 25% of 12th graders in 1997, smoking rates among teens are still alarming. The CDC states the teen smoking rate is currently at 28.5% for all high school students, down from 36.4% in 1997. In an attempt to curb teen smoking, New York City recently passed legislation increasing the tax on cigarettes from $.08 to $1.47 per pack, pushing the average price of a pack of cigarettes to over $7.00 a pack. The higher cost may prevent some teens from beginning to smoke, but they still must understand that tobacco affects not only the smoker, but also anyone in the smoker's environment. They also need to understand that dangerous tobacco products include cigars, smokeless/chewing tobacco, and clove cigarettes as well as low-tar and low-nicotine cigarettes. These all pose risks that are often associated only with traditional cigarette smoking.

Through the activities presented in this lesson, students will become familiar with the adverse health affects caused by cigarette smoking, nicotine addiction, and how when combined they may eventually lead to other risky behaviors. After examining Web sites and video clips, students will participate in a hands-on role-playing activity in which they will have to make some serious choices about tobacco.

Learning Activities

Students will be able to:
  • Identify key health problems related to smoking
  • Differentiate between primary and secondary smoke
  • Describe how the tobacco companies are misleading in their advertising.


New York State Learning Standards for Health

Health 1.0.
Students will apply prevention and risk reduction strategies to adolescent health problems.

Health 1.2.
Students will demonstrate the necessary knowledge and skills to promote healthy adolescent development.

Health 1.3.
Students will analyze the multiple influences that affect health decisions and behaviors.

New York City Middle School English-Language Arts Standards

Standard E1c: Reading
Read and comprehend informational materials.

Standard E3b: Speaking and Listening
Participate in group meetings.

Media Components


Drug Abuse and Physiology #3: Tobacco and Smoking

Web sites:

Save the Children: Children Opposed to Smoking Tobacco
This Web site is an anti-tobacco campaign explaining the health dangers of smoking and using chewing tobacco. It also demonstrates how tobacco companies target children. This is an ideal site for middle school students as there are many related links helpful to their research.

Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids
This Web site represents advertisements from around the world produced by the tobacco industry. There are many ads represented in this site to assist students in their research for the culminating activity.

This Web site discusses how advertising companies focus on children for cigarette sales. While this site offers an abundance of information for learning, it is also quite handy in educating students during the introductory and learning portions of this lesson.


Per student:

  • Brown bag with a piece of bubble gum
  • Colored pencils or markers
  • Pencil and paper
  • White or colored paper or poster board
Per Group of Four:
  • Poster board
  • Markers
  • Colored pencils
  • Magazines
  • Scissors
  • Glue