From Vaping to Smoking?

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From Vaping to Smoking?

The Facts

When compared to teens who do not vape, teens who vape are more likely to start smoking tobacco cigarettes. Tobacco is the leading cause of early and preventable disease and death in the world. Tobacco is the only legal product that kills half of its users when used exactly as intended.

Inquiry

What are some of the effects of using commercial tobacco (including cigarettes, cigars, and chewing tobacco)? How many chemicals are found in cigarette smoke, and how many of these chemicals cause cancer? 

Response

Scientists began uncovering evidence in the 1950’s and 1960’s about the links between tobacco use and various diseases. Yet, tobacco companies denied the science: “We don’t accept the idea that there are harmful agents in tobacco.” – Philip Morris Tobacco Company, 1964

Express your opinion about this quote. What would you do if you were the director of a tobacco company and learned that your products were harmful to people’s health?  

Communication 

Imagine you are a news reporter in a time before anyone knows smoking is bad for you. You have just uncovered evidence that commercial tobacco products cause disease and death.

1. Develop a news story, including: 

  • The health effects doctors are seeing in patients
  • How the tobacco companies are responding to this evidence (hint: check the Learn More section below for some examples)
  • What people should do to protect themselves and others
  • Where people can go for help 

2. Create a video of your news report.

Call to Action

Create a set of five (5) multiple-choice questions using the facts you learned about commercial tobacco. Use these questions to run a trivia game with a younger class in your school. You can use an online quiz platform like Kahoot or have the class answer the questions on paper. Be sure to share the correct answers with students afterwards.

Learn More:

  • Tobacco Explained: This document contains real quotes from tobacco companies denying the health effects of their products. Here are some examples:
    • “We don't believe it's ever been established that smoking is the cause of disease.” (Murray Walker, Vice President and Chief Spokesperson for the Tobacco Institute, testifying at the Minnesota Trial, 1998). 
    • “I'm unclear in my own mind whether anyone dies of cigarette smoking-related diseases.” (Geoffrey Bible, Chairman of Philip Morris, testifying at the Minnesota trial, 1998). 
    • “The view that smoking causes specific diseases remains an opinion or a judgement, and not an established scientific fact.”47 (Tobacco Institute of Hong Kong, 1989) 
    • “None of the things which have been found in tobacco smoke are at concentrations which can be considered harmful. Anything can be considered harmful. Apple sauce is harmful if you get too much of it.” 44 (Philip Morris, 1976). 
    • “It is our opinion … that the repeated assertion without conclusive proof that cigarettes cause disease – however well-intentioned - constitutes a disservice to the public.” 41 (Brown and Williamson, 1971) 

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