Thinking Like a Tobacco Company: Grades 7-9 - Lesson Lesson Plan

Level: Grades 7 to 9

Author: This lesson has been adapted from Smoke-Free for Life, a smoking prevention curriculum supplement from the Nova Scotia Department of Health, Drug Dependency and Tobacco Control Unit.


In this lesson, students learn how the tobacco industry targets the needs, wishes and desires of young people in order to sell cigarettes. Students begin by looking at the reasons why the tobacco industry needs to recruit "replacement" smokers. Then they assume the roles of marketing personnel in a tobacco company and use a 1987 youth survey conducted by R. J. Reynolds Tobacco to create their own marketing campaigns to sway various sub-groups within the youth demographic.

Learning Outcomes

Students will demonstrate:

  • an understanding of how the tobacco industry uses psychological data to profile and market cigarettes to specific target audiences
  • an awareness of how the tobacco industry downplays the health risks associated with smoking
  • an awareness of how advertisers use specific strategies to target youth
  • an understanding of why the tobacco industry needs to recruit replacement smokers

This lesson and all associated documents (handouts, overheads, backgrounders) is available in an easy-print, pdf kit version.