Explanation of the activity:

This activity helps students to realize that smoking does not help you to achieve your goals. Therefore, you don’t need to smoke!

Directions:

  1. Review the list of reasons of why people smoke generated during the brainstorm session. Reasons include:

· To look cool

· To look older

· To be adventurous/rebellious

· To see what smoking is like

· To relax and relieve stress

· Because parents/family are smoking

· Because friends are smoking

· To fit in with friends

· To seem tough

· To feel independent

  1. Using the list of reasons people smoke generated in the previous discussion, have students create an essay, poem or poster illustrating personally relevant ways in which they currently do or can achieve the same goal without smoking or using tobacco products. You may want to have the class select the top five reasons or select the top five most relevant reasons from the list to help narrow down the assignment.
  2. Go over the following alternatives to achieving the same goal without smoking. Encourage students to come up with their own alternatives, or expand on these:
    • To look cool --> Be friendly to everyone you meet and people will like you and want to be around you, making you more popular and “cool.”
    • To look older -->Being able to care for yourself is associated with being older, so do things to take care of yourself. Get ready for school and bed by yourself without being told, or help out around the house without being told. Being self-assured and standing up for your beliefs are other ways to look older and gain respect of family and friends.
    • To be adventurous/rebellious --> Try a new sport or activity that you have never tried, like skateboarding or karate. Debating is a good way to express yourself and “go against the grain.”
    • To see what smoking is like -->Quitting smoking is very, very hard to do, because it has addictive chemicals in it. Smoking is not something that is safe to try. It is easier to never begin smoking than it is to quit smoking. You can also talk to an adult who smokes or someone who has tried to quit smoking and listen to their story of how hard smoking it is to quit once you’ve started.
    • To relax and relieve stress-->A good way to relax and relieve stress is by closing your eyes for a few minutes and taking deep breaths. While your eyes are closed, picture a place that makes you feel calm and relaxed. You can even do some stretches while doing this to increase your relaxation.
    • Because parents/family smoke -->Sometimes people do not know how unhealthy smoking is and do not know they should quit. However, some people know how dangerous it is, but it is still very hard for them to quit. Instead of joining them in this unhealthy habit, start a healthy habit or tradition with them. For example, you could read a book together before bed every night or play a board game every Tuesday night. Or, join your parents in other things they do. Help them cook dinner or do laundry. Doing things with your parents will help you to connect with them.
    • Because friends are smoking -->Play a sport or game with friends instead of smoking. If your friends start smoking that does not mean that you can not be their friend anymore, but find other things to do with them that do not involve smoking. Also, ask them to please not smoke when they are around you.
    • To fit in with friends -->You do not have to smoke just because your friends smoke. In fact, you shouldn’t. Tell your friends that you do not want to smoke, and ask them to please not smoke around you. If they continue to pressure you to smoke, find friends that do not smoke. Fit in with friends that have the same values and beliefs as you do.
    • To seem tough -->First, ask yourself: “What does “tough” mean? Why is it important for me to seem ‘tough’?” Self-confidence is the best way to seem “tough” to others.
    • To feel independent -->You can be independent by doing things for yourself. Dress yourself and get ready for school by yourself, clean up your room or your house without being told, or do your homework without being told.
  3. Give the students time to complete their essay, poem or poster.
  4. Post the posters around the room, and allow the students to walk around and admire each other’s work.
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