By Elysha Giatras
They are scattered everywhere, outside every building on campus. They litter every walk way, every parking lot and are often found between the pursed lips of fellow young peers; cigarettes. Exiting every building on campus, there is bound to be a group of students huddled around, puffing away, certainly not 50 feet away from the building, as college rules state.
The truth is most smokers in the United States are between the ages of 18-24, according to the American Cancer Society. But why do students smoke? Some may claim that the habit started as a release from stressing out about classes. Some started younger, believing it was ‘cool’, along with the ‘everybody’s doing it’ theory. Going with smoking being a ‘cool’ and a ‘relaxing’ act, it may also include the following:
- Cancer, for one, in the mouth, lungs, esophagus, bladder, pancreas, kidneys and cervix
- Blood clots which can cause aneurysms and strokes
- High Blood Pressure, Coronary Artery Disease, Angina and Heart Attacks
- Weakening of the immune system (especially a delay in healing in regard to wounds)
- Lung problems such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema
- Weakening of the senses of taste and smell
- Tooth and gum diseases
The reason people continue to smoke after they have started is because of nicotine’s addicting effects; no doubt making it a very difficult habit to kick. Still, one would think after learning of its detrimental and eventually deadly affects, steps would be taken to quit the nasty habit.
The college instilled rules that require smokers to do their business at least 50 feet away from the building. Some may think this a ridiculous rule, but smokers aren’t the only ones at risk in regard to health. Students walking in and out of buildings are subjected to inhaling second hand smoke. When exposed to second hand smoke on a regular basis, it can bring about asthmatic like symptoms as well as poor lung function.
Along with its health risks, smoking seems to be reason to litter. Garbage cans with sand filled ashtrays stand outside every building, yet people still throw their butts on the ground, even when it’s in close reach. When a student is done with a cup of coffee or a bag of chips, the trash gets thrown out. Cigarettes on the other hand, are too miniscule to bother walking a few feet away. They might be a fraction of the size of a Starbucks cup, but they accumulate rapidly.
With the economy the way it is now, most students have to work full time or two part time jobs to survive. Everything is getting more and more expensive, including cigarettes, averaging around 7 dollars. Assume a student smokes a pack a day, 365 packs a year. That’s about $2555 spent on cigarettes annually, which is about the price of an entire semester and then some.
It doesn’t matter how many Above The Influence commercials are played, or what statistics are forced on people concerning the costs and health risks involved, like how many Americans die a day from tobacco use (about 1,200, by the way). People are going to continue smoking despite the warnings, despite the signs hanging on buildings they stand outside of in the dead of winter. Just throw another on the pile. We’re all going to die someday, right?