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6-8 > Health
Grade level: 6-8 Subject: Health Duration: Three to four class periods
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Smoke Signals

Students will be able to:
1. Demonstrate an understanding of the physical effects of smoking and methods to avoid the temptation to smoke.
2. List behaviors and resources to maintain good physical and emotional health in order to avoid smoking.
3. Conduct research, analyze information gathered, and outline the results and conclusions.
4. Apply basic skills of logic and reasoning.

For this lesson, you will need:
Paper, pens, markers
"The Smoker" handout
Build a Better Body handout
Smoke Signals Fact Sheet handout

1. Discovery of how smoking effects body, mind and others
Introduce the body of "The Smoker". Use"The Smoker" handoutfor this activity.
2. The Smoker's body can be placed on the board, overhead or cut out of construction paper. Students should also have their own handout of "The Smokers" body to follow along and make notes on.

To help students identify with The Smoker, have them give him/her a name and create a character. How old is The Smoker? Who are his/her friends? What kind of student is The Smoker? These comments can be written on the board and the students can create their own version of The Smoker on their handout.

3. Next, ask the students why they think "The Smoker" smokes. Answers might include: it's cool, gives a better image, makes you popular, attractive, reduces stress, controls weight, TV, movie and music personalities do it, etc.

Share studies that show real reasons kids smoke:
Low self-esteem
Low self image
Lack of confidence in ones self to say "no" when someone wants them to try smoking.
Also, studies show that students that smoke are also more likely to get lower grades in school.

4. "The Smoker" has developedinner bodyhealth problems from smoking. These problems include shortness of breath, coughing, nausea and dizziness. With "The Smoker's" body being shown to the class and students with handout, shade in areas of the body that are affected by his/her smoking.

Look at those areas that could be affected later in life if "The Smoker" continues to smoke. These areas include cancer of the lungs and other areas of the body, heart disease, and damage to the respiratory system, added strain on the heart, narrowing of blood vessels and stroke. Talk about these health issues.

5. The Smoker has also developed someouter bodyhealth problems from smoking. These problems include bad breath, discolored teeth, stinky hair and clothes, cracking lips and mouth sores. The Smoker is also having problems in sports running slower and weak muscles. With The Smoker's body being shown to the class and students with handout, shade in areas of the body that are affected by smoking.
6. Next, introduce the problem of how"addicting"smoking is. Nicotine is as addictive as alcohol, heroin or cocaine. How hard is it to quit smoking? What does your body go through when you are addicted to smoking? These comments can be written on the board and students should be encouraged to make their own notes on their handout.
7. Finally, present how The Smokeraffects otherswhen he/she smokes. Secondhand smoke is the name for the smoke given off by a burning cigarette, cigar or pipe.

Have students comment on their views about secondhand smoke. Write their responses on the board.

  1. Share the following facts with the class (Source: The Center of Disease Control and Prevention).
  2. Secondhand smoke causes 30 times as many lung cancer deaths as all regulated pollutants combined.
  3. Secondhand smoke makes others hair and clothes stink as well as interfering with the smell and taste of food.
  4. Secondhand smoke causes wheezing, coughing, colds, headaches, earaches and asthma attacks in others as well as reddening, itching, and watering of the eyes.
  5. Secondhand smoke causes up to 300,000 lung infections in infants and young children each year.
8. Build A Better Body (1-2 class periods and can be partially assigned as homework)
Distribute the second handout:Build a Better Body.
9. The Smoker needs help to stop smoking. Introduce the questions to the class and have them research and work individually to answer them (students may also work in groups if appropriate). The answers to the handout questions will help to "remove" The Smoker's inner and outer health problems.
10. Once students have completed the questions, take a look at The Smoker again. Have students give their answers out loud in class and as discussion of each question develops, address how the answers might affect The Smoker.

Example: The Smoker doesn't want to get cancer so once the facts are given on what types of cancers are associated with smoking, remove those shaded area from his body. Go over each area addressed and help The Smoker build a better body with the facts given from the students.

11. Finally, students should hand in their answers toBuild a Better Bodyfor evaluation and assessment of their comprehension of the facts regarding the dangers of smoking.
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As an alternative to completing the full research handout (Build a Better Body), students can interview a smoker, a nonsmoker and an ex-smoker. They should ask questions like:
Why do you smoke/not smoke?; What do you think of other people who do smoke?; Do you know what smoking does to your body?; Are you ever effected by secondhand smoke?, etc.
Have students write a summary of the interviews and then give their impressions on smoking and others who smoke.
The students should research and report on the ongoing issues involving congress and the tobacco companies. They can also review some of the anti-smoking campaign advertisements that were introduced by the Clinton/Gore Administration.
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Discussion Questions

1. Legal age being 18, how easy is it to buy cigarettes where you live?
2. What types of kids at your school smoke? (no names give a "type" of student or social group)
3. Is there an anti-smoking campaign currently in place at your school?
4. How many adults do you know that smoke?
5. Do you think smoking is attractive? Why or why not?
6. What would you tell a friend who has just started smoking?
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Students may be evaluated by using the following three-point rubric:
  • Three points:Students followed given instructions and fully participated in class discussion and activities, conducted research and completed assignments needed to draw conclusions for class activity.
  • Two points:Students had limited participation in class discussions and has completed necessary assignments needed for class activity.
  • One point:Students completed portions of given assignment with limited class involvement.
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Sending the Message
Have students develop their own advertisement or slogan targeting underage smoking. Students can take part in design and how they might promote their message.

Our World: Who is Smoking?
Have students research smoking trends in other parts of the world. What are other countries doing to educate citizens about the hazards of smoking? What population is smoking in other countries and how are health concerns being portrayed.

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Suggested Readings

How to Help Your Kids Choose to Be Tobacco Free: A Guide for Parents of Children Ages 3 Through 19
Robert Schwebel, George D. Comerci, November 1999
This book is a helpful guide for parents and one that clearly demonstrates how they can help their children avoid and overcome tobacco addiction. It provides valuable advice as well as "how to" information for parents.

How To Raise Non-Smoking Kids
Dr. Neil Izenberg, Robert P. Libbon, November 1997
Parents are provided with concrete methods to prevent children from starting such a deadly habit. The book includes a quiz for kids on their knowledge of smoking and its effects, an organ-by-organ breakdown of how tobacco affects the body, a timeline on the popularity of tobacco, and more.

Saying No Is Not Enough: Helping Your Kids Make Wise Decisions About Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs
Robert Schwebel, Benjamin Spock, April 1998
The winner of a Parents' Choice Award, this acclaimed prevention and intervention guide, for parents of children aged 3 through 19 presents a complete, step-by-step program, time-tested over the last 25 years.

What Schools Should Do to Help Kids Stop Smoking
William L. Fibkins, January 2000
This book gives educators the information they need to help and encourage kids to stop smoking.

Kids Say Don't smoke: Posters from the New York City Smoke-Free Contest
Andrew Tobias, June 1991, reading level: ages 4-8
To stop the seduction for the yet-to smoke, and to help kids get their parents to quit, Joseph Cherner and his Coalition for a Smokefree City sponsored the first annual New York City Pro-Health Ad Contest. Tens of thousands of kids from kindergarten through 12th grade submitted ads and posters. The book is a selection of the very best of what kids have to say to their peers.

Smoking Stinks (Substance Free Kids Series, No 1)
Kim Gosselin, Thom Buttner, January 1998, reading level: ages 9-12
Maddie and Alex prepare for their school health report about smoking, and learn from Maddie's grandfather why he started smoking and why he hasn't quit. The story stresses the importance of never using tobacco products and the dangers of passive smoke, particularly to children with asthma and allergies.

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The Truth About Tobacco
A dynamic video featuring Patrick Reynolds, son of tobacco company founder R.J. Reynolds. An anti-smoking advocated, Reynolds uses video clips, photos and TV spots to demonstrate the impact smoking has on our health and society.

The American Academy of Pediatrics
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and its member pediatricians dedicate their efforts and resources to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. The AAP has approximately 55,000 members in the United States, Canada and Latin America. Members include pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists.

The Center of Disease Control and Prevention
The Center or Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), located in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, is an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services. The mission of the CDC is to promote health and quality of life by preventing and controlling disease, injury and disability.

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is fighting to free American's youth from tobacco and to create a healthier environment. The Campaign is the nation's largest non-government initiative ever launched to protect children from tobacco addiction an exposure to secondhand smoke.

American Lung Association
The American Lung Association (ALA) is the oldest voluntary health organization in the United States, with a National Office and constituent and affiliate associations around the country. Founded in 1904, to fight tuberculosis, ALA today fights lung disease in all its forms, with special emphasis on asthma, tobacco control and environmental health.

Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights, American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation
Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights is the only lobbying organization dedicated to nonsmokers' rights, taking on the tobacco industry at all levels of government to protect nonsmokers from secondhand smoke and youth from tobacco addiction. ANR promotes an action-oriented program of policy and legislation.

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Click on any of the vocabulary words below to hear them pronounced and used in a sentence.

speaker    nicotine
Definition:a poisonous substance derived from tobacco
Context:Nicotine is responsible for the dependence of regular smokers on cigarettes. In small doses, Nicotine has a stimulating effect on the nervous system which can cause raised blood pressure and pulse rate and impaired appetite in regular smokers. Large doses can cause different types of paralysis.

speaker    addiction
Definition:a state of dependence produced by the habitual taking of any of certain drugs.
Context:The term addiction implies the state of physical dependence induced by a drug (such drugs as morphine, heroin, alcohol and cigarettes). Treatment is aimed at gradual withdrawal from the drug and eventual non-use.

speaker    tobacco
Definition:the dried leaves of the plant Nicotiana tabacum or related species.
Context:Tobacco is used in smoking and as snuff. It contains the stimulant and poisonous substance, nicotine, which enters the bloodstream during smoking. The materials released during smoking contain chemicals that can cause cancer.

speaker    cancer
Definition:any malignant tumor
Context:There are many factors that cause cancer, but one clearly known link is smoking. Cancer arises from the abnormal and uncontrolled division of cells that then invade and destroy the surrounding tissue. Treatment of cancer depends on the type of tumor, the site of the tumor, and the extent of which it has spread.

speaker    smokeless tobacco
Definition:leaf or powdered tobacco that is placed between the cheek or lower lip and gum.
Context:There are two forms of smokeless tobacco: chewing tobacco and snuff. Chewing tobacco (leaf tobacco) is usually sold packaged in a pouch. Snuff (powdered form) is usually sold in cans. It is the nicotine contained in smokeless tobacco that gives you a "high" and also what makes using smokeless tobacco very hard to quit. The chemicals in smokeless tobacco are extremely harmful to your health.

speaker    emphysema
Definition:air in the tissues
Context:Emphysema is when the air sacs of the lungs are enlarged and damaged. It can cause breathlessness, which can become worse with infection. There is no specific treatment, and the patient may become dependent on oxygen treatments. Why emphysema develops is not understood, although it is known to be related to smoking.

speaker    cigarettes
Definition:finely cut tobacco that is rolled in paper for smoking
Context:A cigarette is a finely cut tobacco for smoking, enclosed in a wrapper of thin paper. It can also be a similar roll of another substance, such as a tobacco substitute or marijuana.

speaker    Attractive
Definition:very pleasing in appearance or sound, or causing interest or pleasure
Context:Being attractive is having the power to arouse interest. It can mean being pleasing to the eye or mind through beauty or charm. Cigarettes arouse interest in young people but smoking them is highly addictive.

speaker    Attitude
Definition:a state of mind or a feeling one has; a disposition. It can also be a position of the body or manner of carrying oneself.
Context:A positive attitude is a one of good feeling and confidence. A negative attitude is one of doubt, skepticism, and lack of confidence.

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This lesson plan may be used to address the academic standards listed below. These standards are drawn from Content Knowledge: A Compendium of Standards and Benchmarks for K-12 Education: 2nd Edition and have been provided courtesy of theMid-continent Research for Education and Learningin Aurora, Colorado.
Grade level:6-8
Subject area:Health
Knows how to maintain and promote personal health
Knows strategies and skills that are used to attain personal health goals (e.g., maintaining an exercise program, making health food choices)

Grade level:6-8
Subject area:Health
Understands aspects if substance use and abuse
Knows the short and long-term consequences of the use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs (e.g., physical consequences such as shortness of breath, cirrhosis, lung cancer, emphysema; psychological consequences such as low self-esteem, paranoia, depression, apathy; social consequences such as crime, domestic violence, loss of friends.
Benchmark:Knows community resources that are available to assist people with alcohol, tobacco, and other drug problems

Grade level:6-8
Subject area:Life Skills: Thinking and Reasoning
Understands and applies basic principles of logic and reasoning
Understand that when people have rules that always hold for a given situation and good information about the situation, then logic can help them figure out what is true about the situation.
Benchmark:Understand that personal values influence the types of conclusions people make

Grade level:6-8
Subject area:Life Skills Thinking and Reasoning
Applies decision-making techniques
Makes decisions based on the data obtained and the criteria identified

Grade level:6-8
Subject area:Language Arts
Demonstrates competence in the general skills and strategies of the writing process
Prewriting: Uses a variety of prewriting strategies (e.g., makes outlines, uses published pieces as writing models, constructs critical standards, brainstorms, builds background knowledge)

Grade level:6-8
Subject area:Language Arts
Gathers and uses information for research purposes
Uses a variety of resource materials to gather information for research topics (e.g., magazines, newspapers, dictionaries, schedules, journals, phone directories, globes, atlases, almanacs)
Benchmark:Determines the appropriateness of an information source for a research topic
Benchmark:Organizes information and ideas from multiple sources in systematic ways (e.g., time lines, outlines, notes, graphic representations)

Grade level:6-8
Subject area:Language Arts
Demonstrates competence in the general skills and strategies for reading a variety of information texts
Uses new information to adjust and extend personal knowledge base.

Grade level:6-8
Subject area:Language Arts
Demonstrates competence in speaking and listening as tools for learning
Listens to and understands the impact of nonprint media on media consumers (e.g., persuasive messages and advertising in media, the presence of media in people's daily lives, the role of the media in forming opinions, media as a source of entertainment and information)

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CWK Network
Connecting with Kids provides television programming and products focused on the health, education, and well-being of children and young adults. To contact CWK Network, write to Lee Scharback at
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