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Lesson Plans
Cough...Cough...Yeah, I Smoke!
OverviewProcedure for teachersStudent Resources and Materials
Prep for Teachers

Prior to teaching this lesson, bookmark the Web sites used in the lesson on each computer in the classroom.

Prepare the Introductory Activity by placing 1 piece of bubble gum in each bag. Seal the bags such that the students cannot get into the bag during the discussion.
CUE the video to the appropriate starting point.

When using media, provide students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION, a specific task to complete and/or information to identify during or after viewing of video segments, Web sites, or other multimedia elements.

Introductory Activities: Setting the Stage

Step 1:

Place a brown paper bag in front of every student. Instruct the students to not open the bag yet. They are allowed to shake the bag and its contents. After students have had a moment with the bags in front of them, ask them if they would like to open the bag and why. (Students will mention they are curious or may hope it is a snack.) Explain to the students that inside this bag is the key to being completely cool and hip. They can have all the friends in the world and people will admire them. By using this item, you will have much in common with many athletes and Hollywood celebrities. The item in the bag is very easy to carry in your pocket. It has many varieties and is packaged in a number of ways. It can be consumed. The only drawback is that it does have adverse effects. What is in the bag? (Allow students to answer. The responses will vary. Do not give the answer quite yet.) Ask the students if they still want the item in the bag. What could be some positive and negative effects of the item? (In the discussion, the positive effect of consuming this item could be that they would be very popular with other kids. Some of the negative effects could be the degree of adversity on the body.)

Step 2:

Now tell the students that inside the bag is a cigarette. Would this change their minds about opening the bag? (The students should draw the conclusions that cigarettes are not going to make you cool or popular and it could cause long term complications. Many students would most likely not want the item in the bag.)

Let them open the bag and find the bubblegum. Ask them again would they want the item now? Why? (The gum is not life threatening. It may cause tooth decay but it certainly is not as bad as a cigarette.)

Learning Activities

Step 1:

Ask the students to state the possible problems with smoking. (Students will say it causes coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, yellow teeth and nails, lung cancer and emphysema.)

Step 2:

Explain to students that smoking has created many problems among early teens. Here are some common facts about teens and smoking:
  • Most teens that smoke are addicted to nicotine. An addiction is classified as a need of the body on a regular if not more progressive level. Nicotine addiction can be as bad as alcohol, heroin, or cocaine. The side effects include frustration, anger, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, restlessness, and a decreased heart rate.
  • They want to quit smoking, but they can't. When they try to quit, they experience nasty withdrawal symptoms – just like adults.
  • Tobacco is often the first drug used by kids who go on to use alcohol and illegal drugs like marijuana.
  • The Surgeon General reports that smoking can cause cancer and heart disease along with many other chronic health problems such as loss of breath, coughing, nausea, dizziness, and phlegm production.

Step 3:

Explain to the students that knowing cigarettes are harmful is not enough. The students will be viewing a tape that fully explains the effects of cigarette smoking on the body.

Step 4:

Insert Drug Abuse and Physiology #3: Tobacco and Smoking into the VCR. Provide your students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION, asking them to name the three areas smoke comes from. CUE the tape to where the four people are sitting around a campfire. PLAY. PAUSE the tape when the older woman (teacher) says, "Smoking is a major health hazard, especially for people." Ask students to respond and name where smoke comes from. (Smoke can come from cars, factories, and from people smoking cigarettes, cigars, etc.)

Step 5:

Ask the students to name the three forms of smoke from cigarettes. (Most students will respond with primary or initial smoke and secondary smoke but will have difficulties with the third type.) Provide the students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION, asking them to name the three forms of smoke and describe how they are different. PLAY the tape from the previous pause point until the teacher says, "Now we know more about the danger of smoking and it's not hard to avoid it if you want to." Ask the students what the three forms are and to describe the differences. (Students will state mainstream smoke, or smoke initially inhaled from a cigarette, side-stream smoke, or smoke given off from the cigarette as it is burning, and secondary smoke, smoke that is exhaled from the person smoking.)

Step 6:

FAST FORWARD the tape to the point where the scientist is beginning to show some slides. Provide the students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION, asking them to describe why nicotine is so dangerous. PLAY the tape until the scientist says, "But that's because they are taking in very small quantities over a prolonged period of time." PAUSE the tape. CHECK for student comprehension. (Students may include such responses as a very small quantity of nicotine could kill a person, nicotine is a poison, and the smoke from a leaf of tobacco is without a filter.)

Step 7:

Provide the students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION, asking them to list other ways our bodies are affected by smoking. PLAY until the scientist says, "...leading to emphysema and a pre-cancerous condition." CHECK for student comprehension. (The effects of smoking include violent coughing, cilia in lungs become filled with excess fluid, coughing up of mucus, cilia eventually disappears, mucus remains trapped in bronchi, scar tissue forms, air sacs rupture, emphysema and lung cancer result.)

Step 8:

Ask students to log on to the anti-tobacco campaign Web site at Explain to students that the Web site gives students information about the role advertising plays in tobacco sales. Provide the students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION, asking them to record on paper why the tobacco companies want to gear ads toward youth. CHECK for student comprehension. (Students answers may include the tobacco companies need to get students to light up early if they are going to be long term smokers and over 1.26 billion is made on kids under 18.)

Step 9:

Explain to the students that tobacco companies gear ads toward young people under the age of 18. Ask the students to describe cigarette ads they have seen before. What makes them so appealing? (Student responses may include that the smokers are portrayed as attractive and popular.) Ask the students to click on the Web site or "True Ads." Provide a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION, asking the students to find three appealing factors in the ads. Allow the students time to complete looking at the ads. CHECK for comprehension. (Answers will vary.)

Cross-Curricilar Extensions

The ads in the previous activity provide strong evidence of the various advertising schemes tobacco companies will use in the media to try and hook kids. This activity requires students to be creative in their approach to advertising by actually playing the role of an advertising executive. The product the students are advertising is "good health."

Step 1:

Divide the class into groups of four. Give each team materials.

Step 2:

Each team is to create an advertisement discouraging teenagers from smoking and promoting good health. The ad needs to be as appealing as the ads on the Web site. Use the materials provided and any other items to illustrate your ad. The teams will present their advertisements to the class.

Cross-Curricilar Extensions

Interview a lung specialist or any doctor for details concerning smokers. Ask them to offer information about young and old smokers and their medical history. Ask the doctor to explain how smoking affects one's health beyond having lung complications.

If an average pack of cigarettes is $7.00 and a person smoked a pack a day, how much money would that person save a year if they stopped smoking?

Calculate the money saved if a person stopped smoking 2 packs a day.

Write to a local Congressman strongly urging him/her to increase penalties for cigarette sales to young people.

Students could create a skit and role-play scenarios encouraging kids to avoid using any tobacco products.

Research the effect of the nicotine patch on chronic smokers. What are the effects? Is it a cure-all for someone addicted to nicotine?

Community Connections
  • Research how the laws have changed for smoking in public places. Does a person have the right to smoke in a restaurant? Can they smoke in a public park? This is a current issue pursued by Mayor Bloomberg in New York City. Students can write to city council member(s) to show support.

  • Research, "The Great American Smoke-Out." Research can be completed predominantly online. Find out what purpose this day serves for smokers and non-smokers.