Electronic cigarettes

Electronic cigarettes

Turkey, Wales, Normandy and parts of Canada have recently banned the use of electronic cigarettes indoors, and the EU is considering following their example. Campaigners in support of an EU-wide ban point out that nicotine from e-cigarettes may contribute to heart disease and cancers, as well as damaging the brains of developing foetuses. In this activity students decide whether they support a ban. They apply their knowledge of particle theory to decide whether exhaled nicotine can reach non-vapers nearby, and then learn to judge risks to decide whether the benefits of a ban on indoor vaping outweigh the risks.


Learning objective

  • Particles: draw before and after diagrams of particles to explain observations 
  • Estimate risks: weigh up the benefits and risks of an application of science to make a decision

    Blueprint curriculum link

    Lesson 1

    • Unit: Substances & particles
    • Concept: Particle model: Substances can be modelled as small particles in motion. Their energy and arrangement differs between states of matter
    • Learning stage: Apply

    Lesson 2

    • Skills: Decisions: Estimate the seriousness of the hazards of an experiment or technology
    • Learning stage: Analyse

    Activity contents

    • Teachers guide
    • Two powerpoint presentations (lesson 1 and 2)

    These lessons are delivered as a zip file. After you checkout, you will be sent an email with the link to download them.


    Article about e-cigarettes

    This article from the BBC contains links to many other relevant web pages

    Article on the health impacts of e-cigarettes

    From Action on Smoking and Health, suitable for higher attaining students

    Detailed report on the safety of e-cigarettes

    From the British Medical Journal, suitable for teacher background