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Discussion-activity: Nicotine addiction and youths

September 13, 2000
Web posted at: 12:13 PM EDT (1613 GMT)

CNNfyi article: "Nicotine addiction can begin in days, study says"

1. Introduce and define nicotine. Ask students: What do you think are the effects of nicotine on the human body? Do you think there is a difference in the way nicotine affects adults and adolescents? Explain your answer. Why do you think people become addicted to nicotine?

2. Read the CNNfyi article. Then ask: Why do you think adolescents begin to smoke? Why are adolescents affected differently than adults by nicotine? What are the advantages and disadvantages of adolescent smoking? Chrissy Rivera, a 23-year old woman who started smoking when she was 10, says, "When you get stressed out, it's 'Oh, I need a cigarette.' " She adds that her body "calls for" cigarettes. What do you think this means? Do you think this is a physical or a psychological craving? Explain your answer.

3. Give students 10 minutes to complete initial research on the effects of nicotine on the human body. Then have a student draw an outline of a human body on the board. Have students describe effects of smoking on the human body. As they give a response, they will draw and label the part/organ of the body that smoking affects. The student will also need to list the effect on the board. If the organ is already drawn, the student may add the effect to the board beside the organ.

Extension: Have students complete research on how many adolescents have become smokers over the past 10 years and illustrate their findings on a bar graph. Ask them to write brief essays explaining possible reasons for the changes they discover.

American Lung Association Quit Smoking Action Plan
Tobacco Control Journal
Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Not-On-Tobacco program
University of Massachusetts Medical School
British Medical Association
American Cancer Society

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