Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Smoking: The Real Cost

Carol Spice
Santa Rosa District Schools


This is a great lesson to use anytime but especially during Red Ribbon Week or on National Smoke Out Day. Students calculate the cost of smoking over a period of time and construct graphs to display the data.


The student knows the appropriate operation to solve real-world problems involving fractions, decimals, and integers.

The student solves real-world problems involving decimals and fractions using two- or three-step problems.

The student solves real-world problems involving percents (for example, discounts, simple interest, taxes, tips).

The student generates and collects data for analysis.


-Paper and pencil
-Worksheet with questions (see associated file)


Copy one set of questions from the associated file per student.


Prior Knowledge: Students should know how to calculate percent and how to create bar graphs with a minimal review.

1. Discuss the adverse effects of smoking. Ask students if they know what it costs financially to be a smoker. Allow time for a brief discussion.

2. Pass out questions located in the associated file.

3. Either have students find data (perhaps on the Internet) for the first three questions or give them the following answers for questions one through three: Q 1. The average cost of a pack of cigarettes today is $3.25 Q 2. The average smoker smokes 1 1/2 packs per day. Q 3. The average % increase in the price of a pack of cigarettes is 10% per year.

4. Ask Q 4. Allow time for discussion about how to find the answer. Model one way. Ask students to think of and write down another method of calculating the same information. Allow them to compare methods. Review bar graph information (you might want to have one as an example transparency.) Circulate and assist students in answering the rest of the questions and making the graphs.

5. When the students are finished, discuss the results and compare the graphs. Allow time for comparisons and discussions.

6. Collect the questions and graphs.


Informally assess students by teacher observation for determining correct operation for solving and during discussion for effective communication. Questions and graphs will be assessed for solving real world problems accurately. This assessment only deals with those operations necessary to solve the questions about smoking.


Allow students to research health factors as well as the costs they discover in this lesson.

Web Links

Allow students to check their calculations using the calculator on this site. Additional information is available as well.
The Cost of Smoking

Attached Files

A student worksheet with questions for this lesson.     File Extension: pdf

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