Smoking is an addiction that affects more than one in every five Americans, including over twenty-two percent of high school students. (CDC) Nicotine is the addictive part of the cigarette; it is found in the leaves of the tobacco plant. Ingesting just a thimble full of nicotine would kill a person instantly. (Pringle 30) Smoking is the preferred method of getting nicotine to the body because the nicotine reaches the brain more quickly through oxygen than through blood. (Pringle 20) Smoke is inhaled through a cigarette into the lungs. In order to understand the effect of smoking on the body we must understand how the lungs work.
Air enters the body through the trachea, which splits into the left and right bronchi each going to a separate lung. Each bronchi continues to split. The first sixteen splits and branches are referred to as the conducting airways. (Saltzman 12) These branches are responsible for simply transporting air into the body. After the first sixteen splits the bronchi continue splitting and at the end of each are alveoli, which increase the surface area of the lung. This allows more oxygen to get into the body through the lungs. The alveoli are covered in capillaries that collect the oxygen out of the air flowing through the lungs. Our bodies need oxygen because we need it to create convert our food into energy efficiently. (Newhaus 38)
Students will create a working model of a lung so that they understand how the body intakes air, what the lungs do with the air, and how the lungs output air. They will create the model by doing an inquiry lab. After we have had some class discussion about how a lung is constructed students will be given the following supplies: tape, garbage bags, balloons, a 2-liter soda bottle and a small piece of clay. Using these supplies and the information they have learned, students will need to determine the best way to create a functioning model of a lung.
The lungs are elastic and are constantly pulling inward, threatening collapse. The balloon will symbolize the lung in the students' models. (Saltzman 14) The lungs are attached to the chest wall, which is constantly pulling outward. The top half of the two-liter soda bottle will act as the chest cavity. The balloon will be attached to the mouth of the soda bottle (inside it). When we inhale oxygen is drawn into our lungs because there is a lower pressure created in our lungs and gases travel to areas of lower pressure. This is also how smoke is inhaled into the lungs through the cigarette. A piece of the garbage bag will get taped around the bottom, where the soda bottle has been cut. This will act as the diaphragm, changing the pressure both inside and outside of the lung. When you pull down on the garbage bag the balloon will inflate. This demonstrates to students the work their body is doing every time they breathe in, without even thinking about it. The average person breathes about fourteen times per minute. (Newhaus 40)
Smoking does a variety of things which make breathing much more difficult. I would like students to brainstorm a list of all the diseases and health problems they think may be caused by smoking. We will record these reasons on a chart and students will research what health problems and diseases smoking is actually linked to.
Each bronchial tube is lined with cilia, small hair-like projections that move around mucous within the lungs. The mucous captures bacteria, which could be harmful to our lungs, and does not allow it into our bodies. Cigarette smoke kills the cilia allowing mucous to build up in the lungs, making them a breeding ground for bacteria. This is a precursor to emphysema, a lifelong condition which affects the lungs. Cigarette smoke also damages the alveoli, which means with every breath you inhale your body is getting less oxygen, but it is still
the same amount of oxygen. In turn your body needs to start working harder in order to get the amount of oxygen in needs to function correctly. This places more stress on your heart as well as your lungs. Therefore a long-term effect of smoking is heart disease. Smoking is also linked to lung cancer, where cancer cells attack other healthy cells. (Newhaus 40)
Equally deadly is what happens when the chemicals in the cigarette are burned. They create tar, which coats the lungs and alveoli allowing less oxygen into the body. The burning also creates carbon monoxide, which is extremely detrimental to the body. Normally when air passes through the alveoli it bonds to a cell called hemoglobin which carries the oxygen throughout the body. Carbon monoxide also bonds well to hemoglobin, and therefore, when smoking, even less oxygen is getting through because the hemoglobin is being occupied by carbon monoxide instead. (Pringle 30)
Students will watch a demonstration of another their model lung "smoking a cigarette". A piece of cotton will be placed into an empty water bottle. A cut piece of coffee filter will be placed over the top of the bottle and attached on the outside with an elastic band. This will also collect what would normally be collected in the lung. Then the top of the bottle will be sealed with clay, and a cigarette will be stuck into the opening. The teacher will light the cigarette and simulate breathing by squeezing the water bottle. The water bottle will "breathe" in the smoke, which will collect in the bottle. Once the "lung" has smoked the entire cigarette let the bottle sit and the smoke settle for about twenty minutes. The teacher can then show students all of the gunk which has collected in the coffee filter, as well as stained the bottle and the cotton ball. Lastly, the teacher can make students aware of the smell coming out of the bottle once it is opened. This will give students a full sensory demonstration of what exactly smokers are doing to their lungs.
Once we have watched a fake lung smoke a cigarette I would like students to look at pictures of a healthy lung versus a smoker's lungs. I would like them to compare and contrast the two lungs and discuss how these two images might be effective in creating a poster. There is a wonderful image in Pringle's book on page 43 which asks, "If what happened on your inside happened on your outside, would you still smoke?" and shows a girl's face dying like a smokers lung. I think this will be a very effective first ad to have students looking at as an introduction to juxtaposition. Juxtaposition, or combining two images together, in this case a visual before and after like the girl's face, can produce a powerful message.
All of these are wonderful reasons
to start smoking, but then why do people begin? I will ask the students how many of them have tried smoking; I expect most of the class to have tried smoking. I would also like to know how many of them are regular smokers. I'd like all of them to think back to when they first tried smoking what was their body's reaction to it? Does the reaction
like a reaction to a healthy substance? I'd like to engage students in a conversation about why they tried or started smoking. There are many reasons people begin smoking - peer pressure, family history, social acceptance, etc.
Since the early 1900s people were under the impression that smoking was healthy. The tobacco companies have always been promoting the message, "It's cool to smoke!" In the 1950s sports stars, actors and even doctors promoted smoking. Any magazines from this time period will boast these types of cigarette ads. I plan to use ads from old issues of
. Soon after women became a target of cigarette ads, for instance Virginia Slims were targeted directly at women. Tobacco companies paid for more spots and commercials showing smoking as the cool thing to do. Around 1964 people began to realize the long-term effects smoking was having. In 1965 tobacco companies had to begin putting a "Caution: Cigarette smoking may be hazardous to your health" label on every pack. (Pringle 37) In 1971 the warnings also had to be present in print ads; radio and television ads were banned. For homework, I would like students to create a list of all of the places they still encounter smoking ads today. The posters that they will be creating are going to be going against
of advertising that has become ingrained in American culture.
Students will compare cigarette ads from previous generations to those of today. They will research reasons that people start smoking, and will research which groups of people are most likely to begin smoking. By looking at ads students will begin to collect ideas about design, and visual representation of smokers. Pages 41 and 108 of Pringle's book have very effective ads against smoking. One shows a dog smoking a cigarette; the second is a series of posters with cigarette brands replaced with phrases such as "Phlegm Balls" and "Money Suckers". This is where I would like students to begin thinking like graphic designers. I have detailed this process more explicitly in the section called
Becoming a Graphic Designer
in the beginning. There are a variety of methods that designers use to get across a message visually, and here are a few good examples. First the dog smoking just looks silly - it catches our attention because of how ridiculous it looks. Renaming a product, or adding slogan to convey the message can be a helpful tool.