By Hernan Velasco
Students have found a cause effect relationship between the number of cigarettes they smoke a day and the amount of homework, exams, and projects they have pending. As the semester moves closer to its end it is easy to notice, judging by the number of cigarette butts found on sidewalks, that the levels of stress in students increases due partly by the coincidence of exams from different classes, and partly by the low effort of some student to do their projects on time. The fact is that a cigarette has been the temporary cure of anxiety, and it is becoming the best way to elude academic stress; and democratically the best friend of students during happy and difficult times.
Smoking, in spite of its harmful effects on health, it is consider in society as an exercise of our individual freedom. However, the addiction to nicotine soon undermines this argument since the freedom becomes dependency. Most of students who smoke are aware of their addiction; and they are planning to quit smoking –or at least do an effort trying– after they graduate from school. The average student’s opinion is that quitting cigarettes during their adventure in school is a useless effort. They adduce that the drastic change in their lives, the amount of responsibilities, money problems during recession, and the loyalty to their goals only find peace after a period of relaxation with a cigarette.
“Cigarettes have the property to keep us in a hopeful mood”, said Jason Hernandez while he was exhaling a cloud of smoke. He justifies his addiction with the argument that he is taking this semester too many classes, and he also has a full time job. “Obviously, everyone knows cigarettes are harmful, but the amount of things I must get done in a day don’t leave me time to think about that kind of problems”.
Fifteen of twenty students who smoke admitted that the number of cigarettes they smoke depend on the number of classes they take during a semester and how closer they are to the end of the semester. “When I know I am doing bad in a class I tend to smoke more often”, said Mike Depola.
Also the addiction has created a bond between smokers. When a student asks another student for a cigarette the request is not denied because the addiction has produce a well understanding of the need of nicotine. The best way to request a cigarette is to offer a dollar a priori, was the opinion of most student who once had no cigarettes.
Colleges responsibilities is becoming the excuse of the worse of the addictions, and most students only have a vague notion of the harmful effects of cigarettes.