Lesson 4 (60 min) What Influences Us- Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Prevention


  • Put 7 questions into Kahoot.it or another online survey format.
  • Copies of the RMC Health's Analyzing Influences Graphic Organizer (two per student) located here.
  • Brainstorm a good scenario with an external, negative influence for the guided activity. There are two examples listed, but come up with something that your students would experience. 

By the end of the lesson, students will…

  • Summarize why individuals choose to use or not use tobacco;
  • Analyze the dangers of driving while under the influence of alcohol and other drugs;
  • Differentiate the relevant influences, including family, culture, peers, school, community, media, technology, and public health policies on practices and behaviors related to alcohol, tobacco and other drug use.

Introductory Activity - 15 min.

There are different ways to survey students. I suggest putting these questions and answers into Kahoot.It or use some sort of technology that allows students the opportunity to answer anonymously (as long as they register under a different name). The goal isn't to see who knows what, but overall knowledge and impressions. Debrief each answer in between. Answers are in bold. 

1. The legal drinking age in the United States is 21.

a.     True

b.     False

2. The legal age to buy tobacco products is 21.

a.     True

b.     False 

Note: The legal age for using tobacco products varies by state and localities.  There is a document from Tobacco Free Teens that identifies the 5 states over 280 localities in the US where the legal age is 21. You can find that document here

3. List one reason the legal drinking age is 21. Answers may include: maturity, brain development, higher risk takers, low tolerance, poor decision making skills at a younger age, unhealthy, more at risk of addiction.

4. One reason why people choose to use tobacco products... Answers may include: want to fit in, it's accessible, they are addicted, like the way it makes them feel, their friends do it. 

5. One reason why people choose not to use tobacco products is…  Answers may include: engaged in other activities, understand the health risks, don't want to smell bad, want to save money, don't want to get addicted.

6. List one reason why driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (including some prescription meds) is dangerous. Answers may include: Alcohol and meds can impair reaction time, poor decision making, loss of control, hazy mind, higher risk of accidents. 

7. How might teens feel pressure to drive under the influence?  Answers may include:  they don’t think they will get in trouble, they don’t want to be late for curfew, they don’t think they’re impaired, they like to take risks, etc.)

Guided Activity - 20 min

Hand each student the Analyzing Influence Graphic Organizer from RMC Health, found here. Explain that the graphic organizer is a way to implement the steps of analyzing influences. Students are welcome to jot their own notes down as you work through this as a class.

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RMC Health Skills Models  here

RMC Health Skills Models here

As a class, read through a pre-written scenario or you can use the broad example below. Go through the graphic organizer and complete it as a class. Explain that every situation they come across, they aren't going to take out this organizer, but thinking through and learning the steps will make decision making easier in the future.

Here is an example of the graphic organizer completed:

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Closure - 15 min
Once you have practiced this as a class, if there is time, have students come up with their own scenario in which  family, culture, peers, school, community, media, technology, and/or public health policies has on practices and behaviors related to alcohol, tobacco and other drug use. Have them complete a new graphic organizer again, using their own scenario for reinforcement and repetition.