Tips for Resisting Peer Pressure

It’s a common situation: You’re hanging out with a group of friends one evening and someone pulls out a pack of cigarettes. You really don’t want to smoke. It doesn’t feel right to you and it goes against the commitment you’ve made to yourself and your parents. You can think of a dozen reasons why you don’t want to smoke. Still, when a cigarette is offered to you and everyone else is lighting up, you feel pressured and on the spot. How do you handle the situation?

  1. Be cool. You don’t have to lecture your friends on the harms of smoking and draw attention to yourself. You can just keep it simple and say something like: “No thanks. I don’t smoke.” And leave it at that. If the pressure continues, you can repeat yourself and just explain that “Smoking isn’t my thing.” You may want to consider moving away from the situation – go to the bathroom, make a phone call. If the pressure continues you may want to decide whether you want to be friends with people who are trying to control you by pushing you to do things you don’t want to do.
  2. Use humour: Cracking a joke can be a great way to take the pressure off. Have a few one-liners ready to stop them in their tracks. When you’re offered tobacco try saying: “No thanks, I don’t want to look three times my age with a face full of wrinkles.” Or, “I’ll pass. The yellow finger and bad breath thing doesn’t work for me.”
  3. Turn the tables: If you are armed with the facts on why it’s a bad idea to use tobacco you can use them to your advantage if someone pressures you to smoke. “No thanks. I don’t need lung cancer and bad breath.”
  4. Be honest. If someone pressures you to try a cigarette tell them exactly why you’re committed to staying active & tobacco-free: “I’m an athlete and I want to stay fit and healthy.” Or, “I play hockey and I want to stay in shape so I have promised myself and my coach that I will never use tobacco.”


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