How Nicotine Affects the Teen Brain

While student smoking rates have declined in recent years, e-cigarette use has risen—an alarming trend, because most vaping devices contain the highly addictive drug nicotine. In this lesson, developed in partnership with Scholastic, students read "How Nicotine Affects the Teen Brain" to understand how nicotine is not only highly addictive, but can also cause lasting effects on their brain. An article and worksheet get students to think critically about the real health risks of nicotine and vaping nicotine. Then students complete the "Vaping Health Risks" presentation activity, to guide them to conduct deeper research into specific vaping risks and help spread the word to their peers.

Lesson Plan Highlights:

This lesson includes:

  • Student activity sheets
  • Student article
  • Teacher's prompts

Grade Level(s):

6,  7,  8,  9,  10,  11,  12 

Student Skills:

  • Analyzing and interpreting information, data, and/or evidence
  • Critical thinking
  • Health and life skills
  • Understanding health effects and risks

Time / Duration:

  • 1 class period


  • Printer/copier for student handouts


  • English

Academic Standards:

    Common Core State Standards

    • RI.2. Summarize key supporting details of a text
    • RI.9. Analyze how two or more texts address similar topics in order to build knowledge
    • SL.4. Present information and supporting evidence appropriate to task, purpose, and audience

    • National Council for the Social Studies
    • National Science Education Standards

    Next Generation Science Standards

    • Cause and effect
    • Information processing
    • Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information

Teacher's Guide and Student Worksheet

Student Article