A message from Dr. Nora Volkow, Director of NIDA

Tobacco addiction and secondhand smoke: a message from Dr. Nora Volkow, Director of NIDA

Nora Volkow

Dear Teacher:

This month’s Heads Up article from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and Scholastic provides your students with science-based facts about tobacco addiction and secondhand smoke. The article summarizes scientific information and describes current research on the effects of nicotine on adolescents.

Your students will benefit greatly from science-based information about the effects of tobacco addiction, the dangers of secondhand smoke, and how tobacco addiction is treated. The Lesson Plan below is designed to enhance students’ understanding of the article.

We appreciate your ongoing efforts in providing young people with facts about addiction and how it affects them.


Nora D. Volkow, M.D.

Director of NIDA

Lesson Plan & Reproducible

Preparation: Before conducting the lesson, make two photocopies of the Student Activity Reproducible for a pre- and post-lesson quiz.

LESSON 1: Heads Up: What Do You Know About Tobacco Addiction and Secondhand Smoke?

OBJECTIVE To test students’ self-knowledge about tobacco addiction and secondhand smoke before and after reading the article


Life Science: Science in Personal and Social Perspective


* Ask students, What makes tobacco addictive? and What is secondhand smoke and why is it harmful? Give students time for discussion.

* Distribute copies of the Student Activity Reproducible. Tell students to write their name on the paper and answer the questions. Explain that they will answer the questions again after they read the article.

* Next provide students with three questions to consider as they read the article “The Deadly Effects of Tobacco Addiction” in their magazine. Why is tobacco addiction a problem for adolescents? What health problems are caused by smoking? What are the dangers of secondhand smoke?

* After students read the article and discuss their answers, have them complete the Student Activity Reproducible again. When they have finished, reveal the correct answers.

* Wrap up the lesson by asking students: How would you respond to a teen smoker who says, “I can quit whenever I want”? What would you say to someone you know, who regularly smokes around children?

ANSWERS TO REPRODUCIBLE: 1. a; 2. b; 3. c; 4, d; 5. d; 6. a & b; 7. d; 8. true; 9. true; 10. true.

What Do You Know About Tobacco Addiction and Secondhand Smoke?

Answer the questions below to find out what you know about tobacco addiction and secondhand smoke. For multiple-choice questions, there may be more than one correct answer.

1. The addictive ingredient in tobacco is

a. nicotine.

b. tar.

c. smoke.

d. unknown.

2. Cigarette smoking accounts for how many of all cancer deaths:

a. one-third

b. one-fourth

c. one-fifth

d. one-half

3. The pleasurable effects of nicotine

a. are long-lasting.

b. last an hour.

c. last a few minutes.

d. last 10 seconds.

4. Smoking harms

a. only the lungs.

b. only the brain.

c. only the liver.

d. every organ in the body

5. In infants and children, secondhand smoke is a known cause of

a. sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

b. respiratory problems and ear infections.

c. asthma attacks.

d. all of the above.

6. A 2005 survey of 8th, 10th, and 12th graders shows that compared with students in previous years

a. more students disapprove of smoking.

b. fewer students are smoking.

c. more students are smoking.

d. fewer students disapprove of smoking.

7. The following can fully protect you against secondhand smoke

a. opening a window

b. sitting in a separate area

c. using ventilation or air conditioning

d. none of the above

8. An ingredient in tobacco, acetaldehyde, probably works with nicotine in addicting adolescents, in particular, to tobacco.

a. true

b. false

9. Adolescents are more likely to become addicted to tobacco than adults.

a. true

b. false

10. People trying to quit smoking have withdrawal symptoms.

a. true

b. false

In This Installment

* What causes tobacco addiction

* Why secondhand smoke is harmful to nonsmokers

* The latest research on tobacco addiction and teens

Assessment Tools

Use the Activity Reproducible on the back of this page as an Assessment Quiz to students have learned about tobacco addiction and secondhand smoke.

More Information

For access to more information for teens on tobacco addictioni research, visit www.teens.drugabuse.gov.

For information on tobacco abuse and addiction, go to www.smoking.drugabuse.gov.

Find information on how to quit smoking at www.smokefree.gov.

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