Utah Lesson Plans
Health Education
Material Type:
Upper Elementary
  • Health
  • Lesson Plan
  • UEN
  • ulp-health
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    Consequences of Tobacco & Nicotine Use

    Consequences of Tobacco & Nicotine Use


    Students will predict possible consequences of substance use and analyze how social messages regarding the use of alcohol, tobacco/nicotine and other drugs may misrepresent the negative effects of each.


    Students will predict possible consequences of substance use and analyze how social messages regarding the use of alcohol, tobacco/nicotine and other drugs may misrepresent the negative effects of each.


    • whiteboard and markers
    • a pair of dice
    • heavy gloves
    • roll of lightweight string or sewing thread


    • "Hot to Not" from the CD Take a Stand


    Background for Teachers

    Lesson at a Glance

    1. The Wheel of Misfortune

    2. All Tied Up
    3. Squeeze

    4. Indiana Jones

    Instructional Procedures

    1. The Wheel of Misfortune
      • The purpose of this activity is to help students become more familiar with some of the risks involved with tobacco/nicotine use and an individual's inability to control the consequences of tobacco/nicotine use.
      • If an individual uses tobacco/nicotine, there may be consequences that are out of his/ her control no matter how hard he/she tries or wants to avoid them.
      • However, as the activity will demonstrate, the only way to avoid the risk involved with using tobacco/nicotine is to pass (don't use tobacco/nicotine).
      • Divide the class into groups of four. Have each group brainstorm and list the outcomes or consequences of tobacco/nicotine use.
      • Draw the "Wheel of Misfortune" on the board.
      • Ask student groups to state one of the consequences they listed and write them on the wheel.
      • Some groups may list a positive outcomes of tobacco/nicotine use. If so, group these in four to six spaces entitled "No Problems Yet."
      • Have each group give examples of negative consequences related to tobacco/nicotine use to fill in the remaining spaces (legal problems, accidents, hurting people you love, lung disease, physical appearance changes, cancer, fires, loss of friends, getting kicked off a sports team, or odor problems, death).
      • Invite one student from each group to play the "Wheel of Misfortune" by rolling the dice. Start at the top of the wheel and move clockwise the number of spaces the student rolled. Each student should try as hard as he/she can to land on a "No Problem Yet."
      • An alternative way to play is to ask each student in the class to roll a set of dice and keep track of which space they land on.
      • How many of you weren't able to land on "No Problems Yet." Why not?
      • Was it because they didn't try hard enough?
      • What are the reasons you could not roll the number needed for "No Problems Yet?"
        It was out of my control
        It was determined by luck.
        The odds weren't in my favor.
        It didn't matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't do it.
      • Making foolish choices about tobacco/nicotine (or any other behavior) is like standing under a meteor shower full of rocks falling from the sky. Sooner or later you are going to get hit by a rock.
      • How many students were able to land on "No Problems Yet." Why?
      • Was it because you tried harder than others in the class?
        Although they may boast that it was pure skill and determination, the fact is that it was just luck.
      • How are the results of this game like the results of tobacco/nicotine use?
        A person who chooses to use tobacco/nicotine may or may not experience problems associated with tobacco/nicotine use, but it's a risk and he/she can't control the consequences.
      • Would anyone choose to become an nicotine addict?
      • Would anyone choose to kill someone in by causing disease with second hand smoke, or choose to have poor family relationships because of smoking?
        No, yet these things happen every day.
      • How can judgment be affected and individuals be blinded to the problems caused by tobacco/nicotine use?
        The drug takes control, and the tobacco/nicotine user loses control. Furthermore, the younger an individual starts using tobacco/nicotine, the higher risk of having problems related to tobacco/nicotine use.
      • Play the game again.
      • This time have some sort of consequences in place. You may want to grade them on the activity, "No Problems Yet" = "A", Hurting Others = "C", Killing Someone = "F" and so on.
      • A student may choose to pass this time. (Equal to an "A" on the assignment) Just like the non-tobacco/nicotine user, the negative risks are eliminated by choosing not to play or pass.
      • If a student does land on "No Problems Yet," is there any guarantee that he/she will continue to land on that space if he/she keeps rolling? Some students will want to take the risk and continue rolling, just as there are some people that continue using tobacco/nicotine until they have a serious problem.
      • Before you choose to play this round, let's look at the choices you have using I STOP'D.
      • Use I STOP'D to talk about power to make a choice, stop, think, pick options, decide on a plan and then do the plan.
      • How is the choice to pass a smart choice?
      • How does the choice not to use tobacco/nicotine help you avoid the consequences and risks caused by tobacco/nicotine use.
      • Other people may make choices that affect you and add to your rock pile. What can you do about those?
      • You can control your choices but often not the consequences. What can you do to get the best outcome for your life?


    2. All Tied Up

      No one wakes up in the morning and decides to become [addicted to/nicotine] that day. Habits and addictions are usually slow processes that build up over time. They sneak up without us even realizing what we are getting into. The first time we do something we may not even think much about it, but as the activity is repeated over and over again our body and mind becomes used to it. The problems associated with habits and addictions are usually not ones that occur overnight, but rather one small step at a time.

      • Have one student come to the front of the room.
      • Have him or her put on the gloves. These will protect his or her hands against small cuts and make the demonstration look even more impressive.
      • Have him or her put his or her hands in front about stomach level, ten inches apart. The palms should be facing each other.
      • Explain to the class that you want to show how habits and most addictions are formed.
      • Take the thread and wrap it one time around his or her hands and then tie it so that a circle around the hands is formed.
      • Ask him or her to try and break the thread. He or she should be able to do this very easily. If he or she can't then you brought string that was too strong.
      • Explain to the class that this is just like the first time you do something. It is not hard for you to stop that activity.
      • Now wrap the thread around his or her hands two times. Have him or her try to break the threads. He or she should still be able to break them.
      • Explain to the class that it may be harder, but he or she could still stop the activity if desired.
      • Keep wrapping the thread around his or her hands until her or she can no longer do so. This is showing that habits and most addictions do not occur all at once. They seek up on you one repeated behavior at a time until you have no control over the behavior, but it has control over you.
      • What happened when there was just one thread around the hands?
      • What happens as more thread is added?
      • How is this example like rock in your backpack?
      • Are all habits bad for us?
      • Are all addictions bad for us?
      • Can you get so weighed down with bad habits that it hinders your progress?
      • What is the difference between a habit and an addiction?


    3. Frog Man

      When you are out of breath and you need to take another one there is no question that you will. You don't sit around thinking about it nor do you delay doing so. An addiction is very similar. You must have whatever it is that you are addicted to. We have watered down the concept of addiction by using phrases such as "Choc-o-holic" or "I need a soda or I'll die." Kids need to know that an addiction can take control over their body and dictate their behavior. The addiction will cause you to do things you normally wouldn't do, just to satisfy the addiction. Everyone does not become addicted at the same rate. Some people are genetically predisposed to certain kinds of addiction. If you parents or grandparents were alcoholics, then you chances of becoming an alcoholic are greater. The length of time needed to become an alcoholic is reduced.

      Kids become addicted faster than adults because their bodies have not matured physically yet. Different drugs can also cause you to become addicted faster than others.

      • The object of the activity is to have the students see how long they can hold their breath.
      • Have everyone stand up.
      • Have them breathe deeply a couple of times. Take air in slowly and let it out slowly.
      • Now explain that you will count to three. When you reach three, everyone is to take a deep breath and hold it for as long as they can. When they need to take a second breath, they are to sit down in their seats. Caution them to not hold their breath so long that they feel faint or are ready to pass out.
      • Could you have held your breath for just a little longer than you did? Why not?
      • Could you have held your breath for another three minutes?
      • What could you have done if necessary to get a breath of air?
      • Did everyone sit down and need a second breath at the same time?
      • Why do you think some people could hold their breath longer than other?
      • Do you think that all drugs are addicting a the same rate?
      • What are some of the factors that make some people become addicted faster than other people?
      • How can you keep from becoming addicted to tobacco/nicotine?


    4. Squeeze

      When nicotine enters the blood stream it constricts the blood vessels. This causes the blood to flow through a narrower opening. This elevates the body's blood pressure and causes the heart to work harder. Nicotine may enter the body through the smoking, chewing [or dissolving], or vaping. Switching from cigarettes to chew [or dissolvables] or vaping is not a healthy solution. Other drugs such as "speed" also constrict the blood vessels and cause the same effects.

      • Have your students stand in a group in the middle of the room. Do not have them squeeze in close together.
      • Take a rope and lay it on the ground so that it goes completely around the group and forms a circle. Now have all of the students step back out of the circle. Explain to them that you will be making the circle smaller and smaller. Each time you move the rope and make the circle smaller, it is their job to still get the entire class into the circle.
      • They must have each person in the circle and a part of the anyone's body may not be touching the ground outside the circle.
      • Stress to the class that all movements must be done safely. No one is to jump or push their way into the circle. This rule is very important. Take some time to stress safety.

      Teacher Note:

      After a few rounds of making the circle smaller, they will have exhausted the easy solutions to the problems. No longer will it work to just squeeze in tighter. It is a this point that you may have to mention that they need to start working together and help each other if they are to continue to be successful. At some point the circle will become too small for them to fit the entire class into. Don't let them quit too early; they are capable of more than they think they are. Do not give them too many suggestions or it will take the impact of the exercise away.

      • What was happening during the activity?
      • Why was it getting harder for you to fit inside the circle?
      • What were some of the techniques you used the first couple of times the circle became smaller to still fit inside?
      • Why did these techniques stop working?
      • What were some of the techniques you used after the circle became too small to easily fit into?
      • How can we relate this activity to the constriction of the blood vessels when nicotine is introduced into the body?
      • In what ways does the body have to work harder when the blood vessels become narrower?
      • What happens to body parts when they are effected this way?


    5. Indiana Jones

      The movie, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, is a good way to close the lesson. When Indiana finds the cavern and is watching the Nazi's trying to get the Holy Grail, he is caught and taken to the main group. The leader of the Nazi's tried to get Indie to go through the deadly maze and collect the grail. He tells them no. At this point the Nazi commander shoots Indiana's father in the stomach. Indiana knows the only way to save his Father is to get the Grail. He uses his wit and knowledge to get to the place where the Grail is.

      He is met by a knight who is 900 years old. The knight tells him he must choose wisely. The Nazi leader comes to the Grail chamber too and elects to choose the Grail for himself. He chooses a very elaborate Grail, drinks the water and dies a horrible death. The Knight says "He chose poorly."

      Indiana then chooses a simple Grail and finds it will heal his father. The knight tells Indiana "You chose wisely". Indiana then goes on to save his father. The knight states that the false Grail will bring you death and the true Grail will bring you life.

      Students have to choose also, but they need to choose wisely. Choosing tobacco/nicotine products is a poor choice and will take away life. If they choose not to use tobacco/nicotine products their life will not be filled with the diseases, cost, smell and consequences of using tobacco/nicotine.

      Remember it is your choice, but choose wisely.