Community News

Massapequa’s Berner Students Get The Scoop On Smoking Dangers

Photo courtesy of the Massapequa School District

By empowering students with knowledge, the hope is that they will make healthy decisions on their own. Seventh graders at Berner Middle School in the Massapequa School District recently got the facts on cigarettes, vaping and other nicotine products as part of a month-long unit in health class.

Health education teacher Denise Robertson said that while cigarette smoking among teens and young adults is down, vaping has increased, and it is important to warn students of the dangers. They watched a video that simulated the effects on a person’s lung exposed to a pack of day of cigarettes for a month. Students watched as a glass jar and the cotton balls inside turned dark brown.

Students did different activities on their Chromebooks. They analyzed the cost of smoking or vaping over a week, a month, a year and five years, and discussed how that money could be better spent. In the Mr. Gross Mouth station, they learned how tobacco can damage their teeth. In Smokers Beware, students compared the warning labels on cigarette packages in the United States and other countries.

Each student did a tobacco interview, asking 10 questions of either a current smoker, a former smoker or a non-smoker about why they chose to or didn’t choose to smoke or vape. To experience what life is like with emphysema, students walked from the first floor to the third floor, and back down, only breathing through a straw. They observed changes to their breathing and heartbeat while walking up and down the stairs. While they were able to quickly catch their breath upon returning to the first floor, Ms. Robertson explained that a person with emphysema faces constant breathing difficulties and can’t do a lot of simple activities.

The different activities in the unit are meant to give students perspective on the impacts of using tobacco and nicotine products, so they can form their own ideas and values.

“Their values,” Ms. Robertson said, “are going to direct what they do and do not do in their lives.”

Related Posts