Smoking in the Lab: Experiments on Cigarette Smoke for Secondary Science Classes

Dan Jaffe, Dale Griffin and Janet Ricker


According to the Surgeon General smoking is the number one preventable cause of death in the United States. In the United States alone:


To combat these horrendous statistics we have developed 3 scientific lab exercises suitable for students in juinor and senior high school. These lab experiments use relatively "low-tech" equipment which is likely available in secondary science labs or can be purchased at low cost. The three experiments are:

  1. Quantitative determination of the mass of tar of different cigarette types;
  2. Qualitative determination of the carbon monoxide content of cigarette smoke; and,
  3. Quantitative comparison of the carbon monoxide concentration of car exhaust and cigarette smoke.

 Internet resources on smoking:

FDA home page on Children and Tobacco:


CDCís Tobacco Information and Prevention home page (TIPS):

EPA home page on Indoor Air Quality and Secondhand Smoke: