LESSON 3 – Tobacco Education

The improper disposal of tobacco products remains the single largest contributing cause of fatal home fires EVERY YEAR! Further, it has been shown that tobacco use constitutes a danger not only to the user’s health but also to the health of members of the same household. Most importantly, 25% of all smokers admit to having begun to use tobacco before the age of 12 (50% before they were 14!!) Clearly, the point at which to begin tobacco education is BEFORE the decision to smoke is made.

The dangers of tobacco use are not a new subject to the students in fourth grade. They have undoubtedly been exposed to health and educational materials about smoking. However, the review of this subject at this point spotlights the fire danger that smoking represents. It further allows the students to demonstrate their knowledge of the subject while stressing their own personal commitments to remain tobacco-free.

The Lesson

We begin the lesson by examining what constitutes tobacco use. We identify it as the single most preventable cause of fatal fires in the home; we refer to several fatal fires of this nature in the Amherst area. We ask the students to identify the reasons why anyone would start smoking. We discuss roles that social pressures and advertising play in this decision-making. We present information using statistics about the causes and outcomes of smoking. [The presentation of information in pie charts and graphs ties in to a math requirement at this grade level.]

We next discuss addiction and the effects of nicotine withdrawal. Students are shown how to help smokers combat tobacco use in a strictly positive manner using a variety of goal-oriented strategies and encouragement techniques.

Objective 1 – Home Project Review

Pass back completed home projects. Discuss positive or incomplete points. Discuss any immediately dangerous situations encountered by any students during project.

Objective 2 – Injury / Health Problems Associated with Smoking

Use anecdotal, personal approach to discuss dangers and health risks of smoking behaviors. Discuss why people start smoking; discuss health issues related to smoking. Emphasize importance of never starting to smoke. Discuss how advertising influences the decision to smoke.

Objective 3 – Fire Danger Associated with Smoking

Using graphs and newspaper articles, demonstrate that smoking is the single largest cause of fatal fire deaths every year, both locally and nationally.

Objective 4 – Helping a Smoker Quit

Remember to stress a positive approach in helping someone quit smoking. Emphasize positive ways to change smoking behaviors in others. Encourage students to put forward their ideas and questions.

Objective 5 – Discuss Next Lesson

Describe Lesson 4 – Accessing the 911 system to call in an emergency and SAFE trailer goals and activities. Discuss response to smoke simulation. Emphasize safety and appropriate behavior.

Objective 6 – Pamphlets and Handouts

Summarize Lesson 3 goals. Distribute handout materials and SAFE graduation announcement. Make certain trailer permission slips have been returned.