By educating about the risks of tobacco and nicotine use in class, teachers can help to prevent the use of tobacco products. Many schools include these topics in their health or prevention classes. Regardless of the class, young people are most likely to listen and learn from teachers whom they are familiar with, so take the opportunity to discuss these topics with the young people whom you teach.
Learning about tobacco and nicotine products is an important component of any health class and should be discussed along with other substance use topics.
Although many young people are not thinking about tobacco and nicotine products in elementary school, some children this age are able to access these items, so it is important to start the discussion early.
Kids Health: Smoking Stinks!
Kids Health: Smoking Stinks! provides two lesson plans, discussion questions, and activities on all tobacco and nicotine products. Each lesson plan lasts 35-45 minutes and is best for grades 3-5.
Be Vape Free
Be Vape Free is a free program created for 5th graders to address the use of e-devices. It includes several lesson guides that take 30-40 minutes each to complete. The program provides an educator guide, classroom slides, and all needed materials.
Data tells us that our high schoolers are already using tobacco and nicotine products, and that our middle schoolers are at least experimenting with them. Ensuring that they have the facts and know the health risks is important, whether they are current users, have experimented, or have never tried a tobacco or nicotine product.
Taking Down Tobacco
Taking Down Tobacco, created by the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, includes three activities on products and their health risks, as well as marketing and advertising tactics used by the tobacco and e-device industries. This program is ideal for middle school-aged students.
Young Minds Inspired
Young Minds Inspired: Is it Worth It? includes three lessons intended for use with middle school-aged students. The lessons are activity-based and focus on health effects, marketing, and how to resist peer pressure. A teacher kit and resources are provided. Lessons are also available in Spanish.
Catch My Breath
Catch My Breath is a free program that covers e-devices. There are different versions: 6th grade, 7th-8th grades, and 9th-12th grades. All versions contain 4 lessons, 30-40-minutes each, that include activities and needed materials.
Know the Risks: Virtual Field Trip
Know the Risks Virtual Field Trip is a free program about the health risks of e-devices. It features four short videos that discuss these products, their health effects, and how they’re marketed. A companion activity is also available to download and complete with students. The program is appropriate for middle and high school-aged students.
Counter Tobacco Youth and Community Engagement Activities are longer-term projects that examine point-of-sale and advertising. The activities can be done in a classroom setting or to engage youth in policy and decision making in their community. All activities include a downloadable guide with objectives, instructions, and materials. These activities are appropriate for middle and high school-aged students.
Stanford Tobacco Prevention Toolkit
The Stanford Tobacco Prevention Toolkit includes 13 lessons covering all tobacco and nicotine products. Lessons include presentations, activities, fact sheets, and discussion guides. The program is appropriate for middle and high school-aged youth.
Scholastic E-cigarettes: What You Need to Know
Scholastic “E-cigarettes: What You Need to Know” includes lesson plans and activities to educate about the health risks and impact of e-device advertising. It also includes writing prompts, critical thinking questions, and paired reading resources. The program is appropriate for middle and high school-aged youth.
Scholastic/FDA The Real Cost of Vaping
Scholastic/FDA: The Real Cost of Vaping includes lesson plans on e-devices based on health consequences, a research project, and marketing tactics. Lesson plans, handouts, and additional resources are provided. There are separate programs for grades 6-8 and 9-12; each include 3 lessons.