Children begin to face the challenge of communicating with
peers and family at a very young age. This can be particularly problematic when
children experience peer pressure to begin using tobacco products. Children
should be equipped with the proper communication skills and tactics for
avoiding conflict. If students can communicate effectively, they can say no to
using tobacco with confidence and become a role model for their peers.
Ask students to raise their hand if they’ve ever been
misunderstood*. Ask volunteers to tell a story of a situation where they were
misunderstood.Following the story or
stories, ask the class for ideas on how the person telling the story could have
communicated their wants/needs/desires more effectively. Do this to see how
much students already know.
*Explain the term
misunderstood if necessary. Use this opportunity as an example of unclear
communication. You want them to answer a question, but they do not understand
the vocabulary you are using. Therefore, the class and the teacher are not
Students should understand that communication is not only
about the words that you speak or write. Communication includes:
your actions and your words match
When you are speaking face to face with someone, you should:
in the eye (make eye contact)
conversational tone (Do not yell or speak too quietly)
•Speak with confidence. Do not act
afraid of the other person or unsure of your response(s).
•Use proper body language. Do not
cross your arms, look down or away from the person you are speaking to, roll
your eyes or make faces.
•Do not interrupt. Wait until the
person speaking has finished.
Most important, do
not say one thing and do another! If you say NO, show that you really mean NO.
Dealing with Peer
Pressure: How to say NO effectively
Equation for success
Say NO with
confidence + give a reason why + Make your action match your words (walk away
if necessary) = Saying NO effectively
•Say NO with confidence: When someone wants you to do something that
you know is wrong, unhealthy or unsafe, say NO as if you really mean it. Use a
firm tone without yelling.
•Give a reason why: Give a specific reason why you do not want to do what you are being asked to.
Show that you care about yourself enough to say NO. Expressing your opinion can
be very powerful and you may be saving someone from harming themselves.
•Make your actions
match your words: If you say no and then proceed to participate in the
action/activity that you know is wrong, your peers will not take you seriously.
You will be faced with this situation time and time again. Walking away from
the situation may be necessary to prove your point and avoid more pressure.
•Reasons to say NO to
forms (cigarettes, chew, dip and cigars) can cause multiple health problems
in the future. This includes gum disease and a variety of cancers.
makes your teeth turn yellow and gives you bad breath.
makes it difficult to breathe.
makes it hard to be physically active.
•Great ways to
express your opinion about using tobacco. Simply say:
thank you, I care about my health.
thank you, I plan to live a very long time.
thanks, I like to spend my money on other things.
thanks, I don’t do things that are illegal.
thanks, I don’t want to smell horrible when I have to go home.
thank you, it will affect my game in soccer (football, baseball, etc) or
my ability to dance, do tai chi, karate, etc.
thanks. I know that once you start it is very hard to stop.
** Always use “I” statements. Keep the situation positive by
talking about how you feel about something.