This series of modules was developed to help middle school students make healthier choices with respect to drug consumption, however the ideas explored should also empower student to make healthier decisions regarding their food and beverage intake.

During this lesson students will focus on nicotine a chemical found in tobacco and many vaping products. Nicotine is the chemical that is mainly responsible for the psychoactive effects (ex. buzz/high) and addictive qualities of tobacco and vaping products, as well as some of the detrimental health effects associated with these products. While there are more than 90 other chemicals in tobacco products and tobacco smoke that are classified by the FDA as harmful and potentially harmful 1, nicotine is the common denominator between tobacco products that are smoked, those that are smokeless (ex. chewing tobacco, snuff, etc.), and vaping with nicotine liquids. To that end, discussion of nicotine allows for a broader conversation about all these products and their common effects. Additionally, this lesson forms a platform from which discussions of other harmful tobacco-associated chemicals can be initiated. Developing an understanding of a molecule like nicotine, a molecule commonly consumed by the adult public, should make it easier to recognize how and why molecules like ethanol (in consumable alcohol), THC (in marijuana), heroin and other opioids, can have affects on the body. By providing this background, we hope middle school students will make healthier choices regarding their food, drink, and drug consumption in general, and in particular, delay or abstain from nicotine consumption.

(This is written as part of a series of modules involving chemicals such as sucrose/table sugar, caffeine, and nicotine. As written it should be able to stand alone from the other modules, however the first module on sucrose/table sugar may give some helpful background. The other modules are found at


Submissions from 2018


Lesson Plan: It’s Not Just the Smoke - The Effects of Nicotine on the Body, Sheryl Hemkin


Nicotine Video Questions, Sheryl Hemkin