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Toxic Tobacco Truths - A Breath of Fresh Air

 Toxic Tobacco Truths - A Breath of Fresh Air


For a number of years secondary schools have had their own resource for teaching about the many and varied issues around tobacco use and the tobacco industry. Primary Schools have been asking for their own resource. It is widely acknowledged that although the overall trend in smoking and experimental smoking has been on the decline for many years now, there are still a small proportion of children, some as young as 9 years old who are either experimenting with smoking or ever being offered a cigarette by their parents, grandparents, siblings, or others.

The national target for smoking prevalence at age 15 years is 12% or less by 2015. In 2009 smoking prevalence at age 15 nationally was 15%. In Gloucestershire, work to reduce smoke prevalence, at age 15 years, has started to prove fruitful. In 2012 prevalence in Gloucestershire at 15 years old was 8.9% but from Year 8 (age 13) to year 12 (age 18), on average, 3% of children try smoking year on year. Children whose parents smoke are three times more likely to smoke themselves. In addition, being exposed to second-hand smoke increases the likelihood of childhood asthma, glue ear and other respiratory illnesses.



This resource aims to provide teachers of Years 5 and 6 with ideas for weaving tobacco education through key curriculum areas such as literacy, science and maths. The main approach has been:

  • To focus on the normative behaviour for this country which is being smokefree, in so doing, reinforcing this as a social norm for all
  • To identify positive messages about being smokefree
  • To discuss the negative effects of smoking in terms of physical appearance in addition to health effects.



These activities are suggestions for you to adapt to suit the needs of your class. Timings are omitted so teachers can be flexible in terms of delivery. Some activities may be best explored over a series of lessons to ensure a sound grasp of the concepts.



‘A Breath of Fresh Air’ (tobacco education resource) has been updated to include the latest statistics from the Pupil Wellbeing Survey.

The resource is aimed at Y5/6 pupils and uses a positive social norms approach to reinforce the idea that the majority of pupils in Gloucestershire choose not to smoke, that smoking rates are falling across the county, and to promote positive messages about being smokefree. The lesson plans are written to tie in easily with the Maths, Science, English and PSHE curriculum for this age group.

All the resources can be found and downloaded using the link below, although schools should already have hard copies of the supporting resources. If that is the case you will only need to download the updated Teachers’ Book and resource 1.1 which contains the latest county statistics.

To log in and download the GHLL 'Toxic Tobacco Truths - A Breath of Fresh Air' resource, click here.

Tagged under: Key Stage 3, Key Stage 2, smoking, healthy lifestyles, cancer, addiction, a breath of fresh air, toxic tobacco truths

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