Health Class curriculum was developed as prevention education to drugs (alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, etc.) and premarital sex (prevention of STD’s and unwed mothers). It was/is a sort of if you do this, you will get that type of curriculum. My generation didn’t have health class, we had parents, the two-parent variety that had an appreciation for DON’T DO’s and common sense. I noticed years ago, the students had little interest in tobacco. They told me, “Mrs. McCoy, smoking wasn’t cool. Marijuana was cool because it was a herb.” You see, a herb is natural and natural is good. As one male student said, “Synthetic Marijuana was even better because it wasn’t illegal. This was very important, especially if you are on probation.” Now, the newest thing is/are e-cigarettes and many people are not thrilled about them because kids are using them and bringing them to school.
Daily Q/A (Question and Answer) used to get students in their seats, begin thinking about a topic that can be segued into today’s lesson. Addiction is a topic in health.
The Healthiest Activity
1. What is the healthiest choice and why? Getting addicted to nicotine via (cigarettes) or getting addicted to nicotine via e-cigarettes (Juul- pronounced Jewel).
I don’t recommend either because it is an invitation to a nicotine addiction. If you are going to pick one, pick “vaping”. The reasons why are:
1. “While smoking cigarettes, you are inhaling approximately 7,000 chemicals many of them in carcinogenic levels, plus carbon monoxide.
2. According to the Royal College of Physicians, vaping is 95% less hazardous to your health than cigarette smoking.”1
2. Place in order of teen activity in terms of 1 most popular to 5 least popular.
smoking cigarettes smoking e cigarettes use marijuana use synthetic marijuana
getting drunk on alcohol
According to 2017 Monitoring in the Future survey—high school seniors
1. 22.9% use cannabis within the previous month
2. 1 in 5 get drunk within the previous month
3. 11% vape
4. use synthetic marijuana less than 10%
5. 4.2% smoked cigarettes daily
3. The most interesting statistic is the unlisted one—-people who choose not to do any of the above. Makes me wonder WHY? You are a teen. Do you know of anyone who doesn’t do any of the above? Yes or No If the answer is Yes, tell me why you think they don’t. If the answer if NO, do your friends do one or more of the above? (Which ones?)
4. Based on supposed statistics the vast majority of high school kids are not participating.
a. Do you believe the statistics? Yes — because or No because
Teacher Note— below is one person’s opinion from the article “ Moral panic over e-cigarettes” .
“parents prefer to give the “just don’t start!” advice, but if they do, perhaps the better advice is that given by David B. Abrams of New York University’s College of Global Public Health, who Dr. Sally Satel quotes in her WSJ article.
If the choice is between getting addicted to nicotine and dying from cigarettes or getting addicted without dying from e-cigarettes, the answer is obvious.
Satel concludes by warning that “Overheated worries about youth vaping are threatening to obscure the massive potential benefits to the nation’s 38 million cigarette smokers. Two million have already quit thanks to e-cigarettes. Vaping products are already the most widely used quit-smoking tool.”1
Health Teacher Rule Number 1–
There is no adult activity that some kids won’t do. (Notice the emphasis is on some. A lot of our kids are making plans on being someone and doing something. They are future oriented. They have already decided I’m not doing X, Y and/or Z. It’s not worth the distraction away from their plans)
Health Teacher Rule Number 2–
Kids don’t think as much as they calculate sort of like a professional poker player. Their decisions aren’t so much right versus wrong as much as a probabilistic approach. People bet on what I want right now (want is viewed as cool and/or I’ll have more status in my group) based on MY current beliefs which can be biased. (An example, I want this and I have a 65 to 85% chance of achieving it and being able to manage any negative outcome. Biased beliefs—a person over estimates their chance of achievement and underestimate the negative outcome).
Health Teacher Rule Number 3
Addiction like consequences are rarely right now, they are mostly down the road. No one plans on be addicted and no one plans on not being addicted.
Health Teacher Rule Number 4
Approach every health subject in terms of a cost/benefit calculation. Always return students back to their written future hopes and dreams (Goals or Good Intentions).