NIDA for Teens: The Science Behind Drug Abuse
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The student will learn that cigarette smoke contains molecules that are deposited along the entire respiratory tract, including the lungs. These molecules not only turn the lungs and other parts of the respiratory system black, but they also cause cancers and other respiratory illnesses.


The students will conduct the following experiment:

Materials needed: cigarette, transparent plastic syringe, cotton balls, matches or lighter

Fill the syringe with the cotton balls. Insert the end of the syringe onto the filter of the cigarette. Light the cigarette and pull back the plunger to draw smoke into the barrel of the syringe. Have the students watch the cotton balls turn black as the smoke particles are deposited. Discuss with the students what they have observed. Students might consider what the effects of smoking several cigarettes a day for many years would have on the lungs if only one cigarette can turn a cotton ball black.