Sample Smoking Prevention Lesson Plan

Tobacco education goals

Visit Harmful Health Effects of Smoking for facts and statistics on how smoking harms the body.

The primary goal of tobacco education is to prevent children from trying their first cigarette.

We also want to influence and encourage students to:

  • Explore their own ideas about smoking.
  • Make decisions because of facts, not peer pressure.

Tobacco prevention lesson plan steps

Step 1: Introduce the topic of smoking

  1. First, start with this sample introduction (or something similar):

    "Today we're going to talk about smoking and why we shouldn't smoke."

  2. Next, tell your students some alarming facts about the harmful effects of smoking on health:

    Did you know that:

    • Every year, 37,000 Canadians and 13,000 Ontarians die from tobacco use. Every year in Peel, a total of 689 deaths are attributed to smoking. That's a lot of people.
    • Second-hand smoke is the smoke that comes off the end of a cigarette and the smoke a smoker breathes out. This is really dangerous for children because children have smaller lungs.
    • Having smaller lungs means kids need to breathe in and out more often, so kids get more smoke in their lungs.
    • Once you start smoking it's really hard to stop. Smoking is addictive. You might know some grown-ups (parents, family members) who smoke and find it really hard to quit. So it's better not to start smoking in the first place.
  3. Next, tell students what you're going to discuss:

    Today we're going to talk about:

    • Why smoking is harmful.
    • What smoking can do to your body.
    • Why people try smoking.
    • What you can do when someone asks you to smoke.
    • What you can do about second-hand smoke (people smoking around you).

Source: Smokers' Helpline, Region of Peel

Step 2: Engage students in classroom activities

Engage your students in the ready-to-use activities (such as "Smokes and Ladders") or additional activities.

Step 3: Follow up with a discussion

After your students have finished their activities, invite a discussion by asking them these questions.

Q) "Why do you think people start smoking?"

A) Reasons young people try smoking:

  • They’re curious.
  • Their friends are doing it (peer pressure).
  • They think it's cool.
  • They want to feel grown up.
  • They've seen their older siblings trying it.
  • Their parents or family members smoke.
  • They want to lose or maintain weight.
  • They're stressed.
  • Media and advertising makes smoking seem cool.

Source: Health Canada

Q) "Why is smoking bad for you? How does smoking affect your body?"

A) See Background and Facts; show and discuss additional activities such as "Mr. Gross Mouth", "Tar Jar" or "Cloth Body and Organs".

Q) "What would you do if someone asked you to smoke?"

A) See the ready-to-use activity "Saying 'No' to Tobacco".

Q) "What would you do if someone smoked around you?"

A) See ready-to-use activities such as "Smokes and Ladders" or "Fortune Teller".

Step 4: Recap what your students learned

"Today we learned:

  • That smoking is dangerous for your health and affects your health in different ways.
  • That there are different reasons people try smoking.
  • How to say no to smoking.
  • The dangers of second-hand smoke.
  • That smoking is addictive: it's hard to quit once you start.
  • It's better not to start smoking.

Revised: Thursday February 21 2019

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