Thursday, January 23, 2014

Smoking Education Activities

Invite an ex-smoker and cancer survivor to talk to the class.

You can never begin educating children on the perils of smoking tobacco too early. Rather than having a teacher stand before a classroom and talk about lung cancer, heart disease, stroke and respiratory illnesses---not to mention the stigma, smoke smell and discoloration of teeth---get the kids involved by setting up smoking education activities.

Honest Cigarette Ad

Cigarette ads often portray smoking as fun, attractive and cool. They don't show the health risks associated with smoking. Teach kids to dissect truth and deception in smoking by passing around a bunch of cigarette ads from magazines. Let the students discuss who the advertisers are targeting and how those ads make the kids feel about smoking. Next, hand out worksheets with facts and statistics about smoking and talk about all the information that the ads left out. Using the worksheet and art supplies such as construction paper, have the kids make their own honest cigarette ad, including all the risks. Kids can then present their ads to the class.

Nicotine and Blood Vessel Experiment

A single cigarette contains approximately 8 milligrams of nicotine, a toxic alkaloid found in tobacco leaves, according to the National Curriculum and Assessment Center. Nicotine constricts blood vessels, causing a person's heart rate and blood pressure to rise. To demonstrate this effect, you'll need six plastic cups, three large diameter straws, 3 plastic coffee stirrers, water and a stop watch. Choose six volunteers, three to drink water from the cups using a wide straw and three to drink the water through a coffee stirrer. On the word, "Go," have the kids drink the water as fast as they can. Time them with the stopwatch as they drink. It will take the kids drinking out of the coffee stirrers twice as long to finish. Explain that this represents a nicotine-resisted blood vessel. The kids with the coffee stirrers had to suck harder and longer just like the heart would have to work harder to pump blood through a constricted blood vessel.

Tar Experiment

Show students how tar---the sticky substance on tobacco leaves---hinders the absorption of oxygen by the lungs. Break the kids into small groups. Equip each group with 2 coffee filters, water, a funnel, a beaker and black strap molasses. Put the funnel in the jar then put a coffee filter in the funnel. Pour water into the funnel. It runs through easily. The coffee filter acts as the lung tissues, the water as oxygen and the molasses as tar. This first experiment shows healthy, tar-free lungs. Next, have the students coat the filter with the molasses and repeat the experiment. The molasses inhibits the water from flowing freely through the filter.

Effects of Tobacco Smoke Experiment

Tobacco smoke contains many different types of poisons such as arsenic, barium, lithium and xanthine. Perform a class project to demonstrate the effects of tobacco smoke on a living object. You'll need 2 small potted plants such as marigolds, an aquarium with a lid, six to eight cigarettes and an ashtray. Put one plant in the aquarium with the ashtray and leave the other outside as a control subject. Light a cigarette, place it in the ashtray and cover the aquarium so no smoke can escape. Once the smoke dissipates, remove the lid. Continue to have the plant smoke twice a day for three or four days. Each day, have the kids compare the control plant to the smoking plant. Note that the smoking plants have become shriveled.

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