An Honest Cigarette Ad?

Grade Levels: K - 8


  • Students will be able to recognize the intended audience for a certain advertisement.
  • Students will be able to recognize advertising techniques aimed at the intended audience.
  • Students will create their own advertisements about the truth of cigarette smoking.



Popular culture and the media play powerful roles in young people's lives. Through movies, television, advertisements, and other mediums, children are exposed to a wide range of messages about tobacco use. Tobacco advertising increases young people's risk of smoking by using themes that appeal to them, such as fun times, action, and being popular and attractive. What's usually missing from these messages, however, are the life-threatening risks associated with tobacco use. That's where media education can be an important prevention tool.
  1. Have students gather cigarette advertisements from magazines.
  2. Distribute them to all students. Discuss the true meaning of the ad with your students – or have them talk about it in small groups. Here are some questions to use as a guide:
    • How is the sponsor trying to get you to buy or want the cigarettes?
    • Who is the intended audience for this ad? How do you know who the intended audience is?
    • Do you think that having or not having the cigarettes will make a difference in your life?
    • Do you know anything about cigarettes that the advertisement is not telling you?
  3. Have students discuss what a truth-telling ad for cigarettes would look like.
  4. Decide what format to use – print or video or audio – and create the advertisements.
  5. Share the ads with other classes.
Adapted from: American Academy of Pediatrics Division of Public Education

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