This experiment is show the effects of use of tobacco.
We will discuss the cost of using tobacco and demonstrate it's effects. Experience the lack of
oxygen in the lungs caused by smoking. Determine the amount of tar the lungs accumulate from
tobacco use. See how the tissues of the lungs become hard when your a smoker.
- Drinking Straws
- Dark Syrup or Molasses
- Several Sponges
- Millions of secondary students in the United States currently use tobacco.
- 20% of 7th graders use some form of tobacco
- Tobacco is the leading preventable cause of death in the United State.
- Poisons in tobacco are absorbed through the skin in the mouth and through the lungs. The
poisons manifest in the form of lung cancer.
- Tar from tobacco use accumulates in the lungs causing emphysema, which causes you to slowly
- Second hand smoke causes the same problems as actually smoking the cigarette.
The Cost of Smoking:
1. Have the children write down all the things they would do if they had $1,800.
2. Have them to multiply 365 by $5.00 (about the cost of a package of cigarettes/spit tobacco).
Answer: Approximately $1,800
If you saved $5.00 a day for one year, you would save $1,800.
If you spent $5.00 a day for one year on tobacco, what would you have? Nothing!
Now let’s look at the impact tobacco has on your health.
Tobacco is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States. According to the Center for
Disease Control, tobacco kills more Texans than alcohol, AIDS, heroin, auto accidents, suicides,
handgun murders, and fires combined. The poisons in tobacco are absorbed through the skin in
the mouth and through the lungs causing body functions to slow down or stop. One of the poisons
in tobacco is tar. Tar is the black, oily stuff used to pave streets. It coats the air sacs in the lungs
until you can no longer breath and you suffocate to death (Suffocating to death in this way is called
emphysema). Over the years you are slowly suffocating, your body doesn’t get the amount of
oxygen it needs and the blood vessels get narrow, the kidney and bladder are washed with
tobacco poisons daily, and the heart is over worked. Soon a simple activity like walking is hard to
Can You Breathe?:
Caution: Be sure participants have no health restrictions before they take part in the exercise. The
effort needed to breathe through the straw resembles the characteristic shortness of breath
caused by emphysema.
Give each participant a 3-inch section of drinking straw. Explain the experiment:
- Run in place for 1 minute
- Put the straw in your mouth and breathe only through the straw (not through the nose)
- Bite gently on the straw as you try to breathe to simulate an even more severe case of
emphysema (slowly suffocating to death)
- Resume normal breathing without the straw
Discuss participant reactions. Did they gulp of air? People with emphysema never get that gulp.
Show the amount of tar that a pack-a-day smoker would inhale in a year (approximately 1 cupful,
according to the American Cancer Society). Pour 1 cup of thick, dark syrup or molasses slowly into
a tall, thin, clear container. Let participants guess when you will stop pouring.
- Were you surprised at the amount of tar inhaled by a pack-a-day smoker? Why or why not?
- What would happen if this were a 2 pack-a-day smoker?
Allow participants to compare the feel of a damp, soft sponge and a dry, hard sponge. The
sponges demonstrate the difference between healthy lung tissue and damaged tissue.
Ask participants: Why is hardened lung tissue a problem? (Answer: Once the air sacs or Alveoli in
the lungs are hardened, they can no longer squeeze out air.)
As you can see, tobacco has an impact on our health as well as our money. Also, breathing in
second hand smoke, smoke from someone else’s cigarette, has the same impact on your body
as if you were the one smoking. Avoid all tobacco and second hand smoke to increase your span
and your money supply.
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