Who smokes?

Young people and adults often have preconceived ideas of what it means to be ‘a smoker’. This lesson focuses on learning that being a smoker involves a mix of physical addiction to nicotine and psychological dependence. In particular, it helps young people to understand the reasons that people smoke and why they find it difficult to stop smoking.

Young people often vastly over estimate the number of their peers who smoke. By correcting this misconception, peer influence can be effective in helping encouraging young people to stay smoke free.

This lesson also gives pupils an opportunity to explore the different sources of support for quitting smoking, which can be useful in the future, either for themselves or for a family member. It is an opportunity also for information about local stop smoking services to be taken home.

For Hampshire stop smoking information and resources contact quit4life@nhs.uk or telephone 0845 602 4663. If a young person wants to quit, they can also visit
Quit4Life Teens

Purpose of session

To help young people understand the reasons why people smoke and approaches they could use to stop smoking.

Key Learning Outcomes

  1. Explain how daily life might be for a young smoker.
  2. State some of the local and national statistics around smoking.
  3. Give reasons that some people smoke and give examples of how people can stop smoking.
Stage 1 - Demonstrating knowledge

Preconceptions about smokers

Resources needed:

PowerPoint projector and slides, Pens and large sheets of paper.

Key learning outcome

Explain how daily life might be for a young smoker.
  • Put pupils into small groups and give them sugar paper. Ask them to write or draw a short timeline that represents a ‘day in the life of a young smoker’. Encourage them to think about how a young smoker’s life might be affected from the minute they wake up until they go to bed. Consider cravings, whether parents know, smell, concentration, cost etc. (Slide 3)
  • Share drawings/timelines with the class and ask for explanations of the depictions.
  • Discuss as a group how this young person’s life might be changed by not smoking.

Stage 2 - Presenting new information

Understanding smoking statistics

Resources needed:

PowerPoint projector, Smoking Quiz Resource and Slides 3-9

Key learning outcome

State some of the local and national statistics around smoking.
  • Hand out the Smoking Quiz Resource and ask pupils to complete in pairs.
  • Go through answers using the Slides 4-10.
  • Point out that young people often vastly over-estimate the number of other young people who smoke and that young smokers are actually in the minority.

Stage 3 - Applying and reflecting

Understanding why people smoke and how they might stop

Resources needed:

PowerPoint projector and slides.

Key learning outcome

Give reasons that some people smoke and give examples of how people can stop smoking .
  • Give small groups sugar paper and split it into 4 sections – ‘Why people start smoking’; Why people continue smoking’; ‘Reasons people would stop’; ‘How can people stop?’
  • Get groups to start on different sections so that if you run short of time all areas get answered.
  • Go through answers and discuss. Use the why do people start smoking resource and Slides 11-14 to inform your discussion with the class

Further support

This lesson focuses on preconceptions and misconceptions about smoking. A short reflection on previous learning on smoking would make a good introduction. Be aware that you may need to allocate time at the end of the session for any concerned pupils who have family members who smoke.

Further information

If pupils need further information about smoking in general you can direct them to the Hampshire NHS Stop Smoking Service, Quit4Life or The Filter for information about smoking for young people.