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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 Mirror Image
In this lesson, students analyze their own body image and consider what they wish they could change. They discuss how smoking relates to body image, particularly for young women, and learn about the link between beauty and Learning Outcomes
an awareness of how they feel about their bodies an understanding of how the media can pressure young people to be thin an awareness of how the tobacco industry plays on smoking and thinness to market cigarettes Procedure Note to Teacher: Although this lesson focuses on the relationship between smoking and thinness in young women, it’s important to note that more and more boys are also turning to smoking to reduce weight. Studies have found that boys aged 9 -14 who thought they were overweight were 65 per cent more likely to think about smoking, or to try it, than their peers; and boys who worked out every day in order to lose weight were twice as likely to experiment with tobacco. (Source: Marcus, A. (1999). “Body Image Tied to Smoking in Kids.”) Materials
Preparation and Materials
Photocopy the following student handouts: Mirror Image (educational handout) Smoking and body image Q & As (educational handout) Individual Activity
Students complete the Mirror Image handout. Assure them that their answers will remain confidential, and that these Mirror Image ● Lesson Plan ● Grades 5 – 8
Why do we think we should look a certain way? Where does our notion of an “ideal” body come from? Why is there so much focus in our society on body image? How does the ideal image of a woman’s body differ in other cultures? In other historic times? How does smoking relate to body image for men? For women? Why are teenage girls especially vulnerable to these ideas? Why isn’t smoking a good way to lose weight? Ask some of the questions on Smoking and body image Q & As. Distribute copies of this sheet for the Extension Activity
Have students collect magazine images that reinforce the North American “ideal” body image for women and for men. In small groups, they should make collages of these images and superimpose the words “Love Your Body, Not Theirs.” Note: Image Gap is a related MediaSmarts teaching lesson Mirror Image ● Student Handout
Mirror Image
Use this worksheet to think about your body image. You don't need to write your name on this sheet. Your answers will Write as many words as you can to describe your body and its parts (think of height, weight, hair colour & ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ Draw a red circle around the things you like about your body. Think about the things you don't like about your body. What can you do about them? Check the boxes that ______ Remember that "there's a lot more to you than meets the eye". Appearance is just one part of the picture. Who you are also includes your personality, talents, and strengths. ______ Face your fears. Instead of shying away from mirrors, take a really good look. Stand in front of a mirror and look – really look, as if you were looking at yourself through someone else's eyes. Don't think about what you would like to look like (forget the magazine and TV images). Take some time and just appreciate what you see. The human body, in all its shapes and sizes, is beautiful! ______ Be patient. Your body is gradually changing into an adult's body. It may feel awkward or uncomfortable for a while. even foreign. But that's all just part of the growing process. ______ Focus on the things you do like. Don't just zero in on the "problems" and the things you'd like to ______ Change your eating and/or exercise habits. Healthy food and regular exercise help you look and ______ Have a sense of humour. If you can be light-hearted about your own shortcomings, you'll never have to be afraid of what other people think. Mirror Image ● Student Handout
Why do you think so many people wish they looked differently than they do? ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ What would you tell a best friend who was unhappy about the way he or she looked? ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ Reprinted with permission from Smoke-Free for Life, a smoking prevention curriculum supplement from the Nova Scotia Department of Health, Drug Dependency and Tobacco Control Unit, 1996. Mirror Image ● Student Handout
Smoking and Body Image Q & A
Smokers do tend to weigh less than nonsmokers – probably because smoking changes the way the body metabolizes (“burns”) food. However, this small weight loss comes at a high price: your health, appearance, and feeling of self-control. There are other less costly ways of losing weight. Ironically, smoking leaves you out of breath and makes it harder to exercise. Cigarettes may make you a few pounds lighter, but they don’t make you fitter. When smokers quit, do they gain weight? Often they do, an average of 2-4 kilograms (4-9 pounds). That’s one reason why people who quit should get regular exercise, such as bicycling, swimming, skating or working out. Another reason is that exercise helps them make it through the withdrawal period. It doesn’t usually take much effort to lose the few kilos they’ve Does quitting smoking make you want to eat more sweets? Nicotine affects levels of blood sugar (glucose) in the body, so that nicotine withdrawal can trigger a craving for sweets. Sometimes, smokers who are quitting also snack more often to fill the “gap” that cigarettes used to fill. These withdrawal symptoms pass, however. How do cigarette advertisements take advantage of women’s insecurities about body image? Tobacco companies know that many women in our society think they should be thin, so the models in the ads are skinny, and the cigarettes are called slims, lights or longs. These ads feed the idea that all women should look like models. One group in the United States became angry at billboard cigarette ads directed at women, and pasted their own slogan on top. It read: Love Your Body – Not Hers Associating thinness with smoking can start early. Researchers have found a direct relation between early smoking (before grade 6) – in both girls and boys – and low body satisfaction and fears about being overweight. How does smoking affect your appearance? Nicotine constricts the blood vessels that bring oxygen to the skin. Without enough oxygen, skin ages faster – smokers end up with gray complexions and wrinkles. Smoking stains the teeth and fingers, turning them yellow. The smell of cigarette smoke clings to the hair and Smoking also causes bad breath, which the smoker often isn’t even aware of, except perhaps in the morning. “Smoker’s breath” can’t be entirely washed away with mouthwash or chewing gum, because it comes from the old smoke and tars that have accumulated in the lungs. Stop Smoking, Stay Trim (The Lung Association). “Smoking, Weight and Appearance: Some Common Questions and Answers” from Facilitator’s Guide: Diary of a Teenage Smoker (Health Canada).

Source: http://mediasmarts.ca/sites/default/files/pdfs/lesson-plan/Lesson_Mirror_Image.pdf

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