25th November 2005 at 00:00

The well known demonstration with a vacuum pump, sucking cigarette smoke through cotton wool or fibreglass, is impressive. Trap and condense the smoke to show the tar and find the pH of both with universal indicator. Use the apparatus to compare different cigarette brands, or make the demonstration quantitative rather than qualitative by weighing the fibreglass or the condensate.


Get a sheep's pluck and look at the gross appearance of the lungs and the trachea. It may also be possible to show the blood vessels connecting the heart and lungs. Demonstrate the sponginess and elasticity of lung tissue by inflating the lungs (use a foot pump and rubber tubing to do this!). Cut open a lung to show the internal structure and the branching tubes of the bronchial tree.


Nicotine - an alkaloid in tobacco - is what makes the cigarette addictive, and all standard texts deal with its effects on the body. Research other uses of nicotine - eg one is in insecticides; another is using an infusion of tobacco leaves to catch and kill immature eels in the Basque countrywww.buber.netBasqueFood Recently, tobacco plants have been genetically engineered to produce human proteins to combat the rabies virus www.newscientist.comarticle.ns?id=dn3790).

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today