Up in smoke

Recent statistics show that smoking among college students has increased and they are now the largest group of smokers in the United States.

A survey conducted by Monitoring the Future Survey concludes that smoking by young adults, ages 18-24, was lower than that of adults 24 and older from 1965-1995. Since then, the young adult population has become the most populated group of smokers.

In recent years, the government has come down hard on tobacco companies forcing them to change their marketing strategies. Claims were made tobacco companies were targeting teenagers through flashy advertisements, such as Joe Camel, in order to make smoking attractive and trendy.

Researchers believe that college students have become more susceptible to smoking because tobacco companies are now targeting people 18 years old and older. One third of young adults enroll in higher education. Concerns are raised because colleges and universities are not warning students of the health risks of smoking. One suggestion is to implement a program to prevent non-smokers from becoming addicted and to help smokers to quit.

Shelley Heavrin, a psychology major, feels that colleges and universities “need to show students the short-terms affects of smoking, such as coughing and shortness of breath during exercise.” Heavrin also feels that by telling students that they may get Emphysema later in life is not going to prevent many students from smoking, and that there should be designated smoking areas to make it more difficult for smokers to light up.

“Our age group thrives on instant gratification and wants to know what will happen today or maybe even tomorrow, not several decades from now,” said Heavrin.

When traditional students reach college age, they are exposed to many things. One of them being freedom. Many students do not have mom and dad telling them what to do and where to be anymore. Peer pressure and alcohol are becoming more prevalent and stress is also a factor as well. One alternative to dealing with this new lifestyle is smoking.

Kim Wilson, a psychology major, said, “I feel that people who only smoke when they drink do so because they are more likely to become peer pressured when they have alcohol in their system.”

Scott Gunning, a criminal justice major, said, “Although I don’t smoke, I do feel that if is an addictive habit and am glad that I was not pressured into picking it up. I feel that colleges need to be more active in showing students all the negative affects of smoking and provide those who do smoke with solutions on how to quit.” Gunning also feels that products on the market today to help aid smokers in quitting are too expensive and that maybe colleges could offer these products and a reduced rate or even free.

Chris Jackson, a finance major, said, “I think that since college students are adults, they reserve the right to smoke if they want. I am not condoning smoking, but one of the privileges of being over the age of 18 is smoking. I am pretty sure that smokers know the potential dangers involved by now.”

If you are a smoker one of the biggest challenges you face is quitting. So, how do you go about doing it?

* Prepare yourself mentally and physically.

You first have to decide you want to quit. One thing to keep in mind is that you don’t want to weigh yourself down with negative thoughts about how hard it will be quitting.

* Try to drink more fluids, start a work out program, and get plenty of sleep.

* Know what to expect. Quitting won’t be easy, but keep in mind that the withdrawal symptoms are temporary and last only about one to two weeks. Studies show that the first week is where most relapses occur during the first week when your body is still dependent on nicotine. Another positive thing is that about 3 million Americans quit each year. If you relapse don’t give up. Most people have to try several times before they quit for good.

Ways to quit.

Switch to a brand you find distasteful, or one that is low in nicotine. Cut down the number of cigarettes you smoke, or the way you smoke them. For instance, smoke only half a cigarette, or only during the even hours of the day. Stop carrying cigarettes with you, the harder they are for you to get, the easier it will be to quit. Place all your cigarette butts in a glass and carry it around with you, that way you’ll be aware of how many cigarettes you smoke as well as how disgusting it is.

The day you quit.

Throw away all your lighters and your ashtrays. Then go buy yourself something, not a pack of cigarettes, as a treat.

After quitting.

Drink plenty of fluids. Be sure to exercise and eat healthy. If you find you miss holding a cigarette in your hand, substitute the lack of cigarettes for something else, like a pen. If you miss your typical post-meal cigarette, brush your teeth or take a walk. Keep in mind that quitting doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll gain weight. Just watch what you eat, count your calories and weigh yourself daily.

Source: National Cancer Institute