- About 60% of college students are nonsmokers-reporting never smoking cigarettes.
- About 10% of students are smokers- using cigarettes every day or every other day.
- About 30% of students are “social smokers”-who probably do not consider themselves smokers, but smoke a couple of times each week or month.
Social smoking hurts the body - Even if you are smoking “every now and then” you are still subject to physical consequences. These can include: exposure to over 400 chemicals (some with cancer causing agents like arsenic, lead and mercury), increase in blood pressure, heart damage and exposure to secondhand smoke if others are smoking around you. Even 30 minutes of exposure to secondhand smoke can cause heart damage similar to that of an everyday smoker.
Addiction is a real possibility - Nicotine can cause an addiction that is similar to the brain response of cocaine of heroin. The nicotine activates the portion of the brain that regulates feelings of pleasure, including the release of dopamine. The brain circuitry starts creating a “pairing” between the behavior (smoking) and feelings of pleasure.
Think you can quit whenever you want? - Even if you consider yourself a “social smoker” quitting can be difficult. The nicotine doesn’t care whether you smoke everyday or every week. Nicotine reaches the brain in 10 seconds and then tells the brain you want more.
Make the decision to quit. - If you do smoke and value your health, make the decision to stop smoking.
Get help if you need it. - If quitting on your own is too difficult, take advantage of the many resources available. It may just save your life.
For more information about tobacco cessation on campus, contact the Wellness Resource Center at 314-516-5380. Source: Bacchus and Gamma Peer Education Network www.bacchusgamma.org