Tobacco Addiction and Secondhand Smoke

First published 2006. To view the latest Heads Up content, click here.

Use the lesson and student worksheet below to reinforce comprehension of the student article “The Deadly Effects of Tobacco Addiction.” 

Dear Teacher: 

This month’s Heads Up article from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and Scholastic provides your students with science-based facts about tobacco addiction and secondhand smoke. The article summarizes scientific information and describes current research on the effects of nicotine on adolescents.

Your students will benefit greatly from science-based information about the effects of tobacco addiction, the dangers of secondhand smoke, and how tobacco addiction is treated. The Lesson Plan below is designed to enhance students’ understanding of the article. We appreciate your ongoing efforts in providing young people with facts about addiction and how it affects them.


Nora D. Volkow, M.D. 
Director of NIDA


In This Installment

  • What causes tobacco addiction
  • Why secondhand smoke is harmful to nonsmokers
  • The latest research on tobacco addiction and teens



Preparation: Before conducting the lesson, make two photocopies of the Student Worksheet for a pre- and post-lesson quiz.

Assessment Tools
Use the Student Worksheet as an Assessment Quiz to determine what your students have learned about tobacco addiction and secondhand smoke.  

OBJECTIVE: To test students’ self-knowledge about tobacco addiction and secondhand smoke before and after reading the article 

NATIONAL SCIENCE EDUCATION STANDARDS: Life Science: Science in Personal and Social Perspective


  • Ask students, What makes tobacco addictive? and What is secondhand smoke and why is it harmful? Give students time for discussion.
  • Distribute copies of the Student Worksheet. Tell students to write their name on the paper and answer the questions. Explain that they will answer the questions again after they read the article.
  • Next provide students with three questions to consider as they read the article “The Deadly Effects of Tobacco Addiction” in their magazine. Why is tobacco addiction a problem for adolescents? What health problems are caused by smoking? What are the dangers of secondhand smoke?
  • After students read the article and discuss their answers, have them complete the Student Worksheet again. When they have finished, reveal the correct answers.
  • Wrap up the lesson by asking students: How would you respond to a teen smoker who says, “I can quit whenever I want”? What would you say to someone you know who regularly smokes around children?

Take the quiz on the Student Worksheet.



1. a; 2. b; 3. c; 4. d; 5. d; 6. a & b; 7. d; 8. true; 9. true; 10. true.




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