3.4 - Act Up, Butt Out



The CBC reported in 2002 that Peer Pressure is the biggest influence on teen smokers. Similarly, another study by the Illinois Department of Health found that the the average age for a new smoker is 13 This is a role-play exercise which explores the group dynamics of smoking. Have participants role-play situations in which they would be tempted/pressured/encouraged/craving to smoke and allow students to suggest how the characters can choose to act in each situation. Vary the characters from peers who are ardent non-smokers, peers who define themselves as social smokers and peers who are trying to quit.


1. Divide into small groups.
2. Develop a skit. If you need inspiration, check out the list of context, character and refusal strategy ideas listed on the bottom of the page.
3. Tthe skits should try to include: quitting smokers/ardent smokers/social smokers and a context. The skit must also include refusal strategies. For ideas on refusal strategies, consult the skit idea guide or visit some of these sites:

  • Tobacco Refusal TacticsPBS Smoking: Peer PressureFamily Guide: Teach your Child to Say No
    4. Perform the skits for the class.
    Optional : As an interesting twist, try replacing the cigarette with another object like a pencil/fruit/box/chair/one of the ailments associated with smoking (ex: lung cancer) or any other object. Have participants try to "sell" this object in the same way that they would a cigarette.
    5. Discuss any new learnings such as internal motivations of each of the characters and external impact of characters on each other together with the class after the presentation. Try to answer questions related to your roles and situations, like:
    • How does it feel when someone is trying to persuade you to do something that you're not sure about?
    • How do you deal with intimidation?
    • Likewise, how does it feel to be smoker trying to convince others to join you?
    • What do you think are your most successful arguments to try to get your friend to try smoking?
    • Why are you peer pressuring them in the first place?
    • Why did you start smoking?
    Discuss realistic and successful refusal strategies.

    Learning Objectives

    • Identify how external and internal influences that affect choice of behaviour
    • Understand and know to recognize negative social pressures that promote the use of tobacco
    • Understand how the role of tobacco can stimulate adverse effects in the community
    • Know appropriate response and successful refusal skills to respond to negative social pressure
    • Understand that self-control is also a successful response to negative social influence
    • Application of the content that we have been learning

    Continue to 4.1 - It's the Law »