There has been variations in population of smoking college students throughout the globe especially for past 20 years. These variations were due to the differences in the smoking bans and lifting bans in colleges by the government, iIt is estimated that a typical smoker starts smoking before reaching the age of 24 years (Young People and Smoking). This factor makes it very important to consider the smoking habits of college going students who generally fgall under the age of 24 years. Smoking students not only consume a major portion of tobacco products but are also the long lasting customers for tobacco companies. They are also the replacement consumers for those smokers who quit or die. In last two decades, various preventive measures and bans on smoking cigarettes in college campuses has been taken however in last few years these bans have been increasingly implemented in most of college campuses by various educational institutions and Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) aimed at maintain the health of students, faculty, and staff at campus. Recent initiatives have taken a rapid growth especially in United States. Up till October 5th, 2012, about 826 colleges and/or universities in the U.S have implemented 100% smoke free campus-wide bans which included indoor as well as outdoor smoking throughout the campuses including the residential areas. This number was about 530 campuses last year in July, 2011 and 420 upcoming years (Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights 2012). These bans have been under debate in terms of their effectiveness and discriminating behavior towards smoking students. For them, smoking is the way to prevent stress, maintain body weight and social intervention with other smokers.
There have been various bans in history on smoking in college campuses and especially during last two decades, but the recent initiatives taken by various educational institutions and Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) a rapid growth in smoking bans have been implemented in various colleges and universities especially in United States. Up till 5th October, 2012, about 826 colleges and/or universities only in the U.S have implemented 100% smoke free campus-wide bans which included indoor as well as outdoor smoking throughout the campuses including the residential areas. This number was about 530 campuses last year in July, 2011 and 420 upcoming years (Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights 2012).
Various marketing strategies of tobacco products include advertisements that instigate youth to smoke through exciting and energetic portrayal of it. The college students start smoking due to such ads but continue to smoke due to various reason. These reasons are discussed in details in subsequent sections.
Studies and researches have shown that students use smoking as a way to reduce anxiety, fear, and stresses of academic situations like exams and assignments. These situations have stressful effects on almost all the students but those who turn to smoking to control these effects become addicted to smoking in such situations. So in case of any stressful situation campus-wide, the non-smoking students can handle the situation easily than smoking students which are habitual on smoking to deal with such situations. The habit of smoking in stressful situation makes the smoking students handicap of smoking to deal with such situations through smoking. The studies have further shown that the college students who areis exposed to high rate of stressful situations in more likely to become a lifelong smoker than one who is in comparatively relaxed situations. The same rule is applied for quitting in which former feels more difficulty than later.
Studies have also shown that students are inclined towards smoking based on the difficulty level of courses they have opted. The harder the level of study is the more chances are that the student will become a smoker. A high rate of smoking are found in those students who are majoring in communications, imagistic and cultural studies which is about 38%, whereas the lowest smoking rates are found in mathematics, sciences and technology which is about 21%. The students who major in difficult subjects tend to smoke with high rate hence bringing difficulties to them than those who are majoring in comparatively easy subjects. As a result any ban on smoking campus-wide will mostly affect the result of difficult subjects only.
A survey showed that about 32% of college smokers regard their smoking as a way to lighten their depression in stressful academic situation. The survey also showed that various smoking students also have up to some extent domestic issues or stressful situation in their social lives. Furthermore the students whose parents or elder siblings smokingee cigarettes are found more inclined towards smoking than others. Another major aspect to consider here is that the smokers tend to start smoking when they have low self-esteem which is especially more likely to occur in a stressful situations. It is pertinent to mention here that the smokers become addicted to smoking to deal with stressful situations and are unable to take act maturely if they are restrained from smoking during any such situation. On the other hand the non-smokers are habitual to deal with stressful situations without having any urge to smoke etc., so restraining them from smoking will have no effect on their efficiency during such situations (Wagner 2000).
Smoking is a way to reduce weight especially used by female students which gets started for reducing weight but becomes a habit afterwards. The main reason of reduction of weight as result of smoking is that the nicotine concentrations in cigarette act strongly as appetite suppressant. The suppressing appetite results in reducing food intake by making the smoker feel full. Cigarettes have been used as dieting tool by many female students to keep themselves slim. Since, nowadays thin body in females is considered as a beauty standard hence the pressure of becoming thin and retain it has encouraged female college students to smoke. The habit of smoking as appetite suppressant keeps a certain level of nicotine in smokers’ bodies which makes them addicted to it and if a sudden ban on smoking is implemented campus-wide by authorities then to achieve the same level of nicotine they will take increased amount of food items which will result in obesity. These factors contribute strongly towards continuation of smoking by most of the both male and female college students even after their college (James 2012).
The non-smokers tend to do exercise and other health activities to control their weigh hence making it easy for them to control their weights through non-smoking ways. This situations puts smoking students in difficulties when they are unable to start healthy exercise due to being non-habitual of exercising hence a ban on smoking will do no harm to non-smokers but will contribute towards over weight of smokers. Another aspect to be considered here is that the smokers tend to have lower stamina for carrying out various gym exercises. This lower stamina further adds to increased weight of smokers in case of banning smoking campus-wide.
The advertisements of tobacco products emphasize on portrarying thin bodies as ideal and show thin and smart people smoking so as to spread the image of tobacco products as best dieting tools. Researches and studies have shown that the more young females are exposed to images of thin women then the more are chances that they will want to have the same for themselves through the same dieting way as told in these images. This increases the tendency of smoking in female college students hence depriving them from smoking will take their mind of studies and their focus will be on the point that they are gaining weight for not smoking campus-wide. The non-smokers at college level will be able to concentrate in their studies without losing any focus in terms of any concern related to increase in weight whereas the smokers are if prohibited from smoking and consequently start to put on weight then their focus will be distracted from studies to losing the gained weight.
Studies have shown that students are inclined towards smoking based on the difficulty level of courses they have opted. The harder the level of study is the more chances are that the student will become a smoker. A high rate of smoking are found in those students who are majoring in communications, imagistic and cultural studies which is about 38%, whereas the lowest smoking rates are found in mathematics, sciences and technology which is about 21%. The students who major in difficult subjects tend to smoke with high rate hence bringing difficulties to them than those who are majoring in comparatively easy subjects. As a result any ban on smoking campus-wide will mostly affect the result of difficult subjects only.
Numerous college students use smokinge as a tactic to socially interact with their smoker colleagues who also smokes. It is also used or to take a breaks from long study sessions. In such situations, smoking is considered to support social interactions with members of the opposite sex as well, which is dominantly advertised by tobacco products involving images which instigate emotions for opposite sex. Smoking tobacco products are also considered as an agent to reduce headache and other fatigue states hence tied students tend to smoke due to exhaustion so as to reduce fatigue and headache if any. Any preventive measures on smoking will not only affect the smoking habits of college students but also will create difficulties in handling fatigue and exhaustion for inly those students who use smoking as a source of reducing both of these issue. The non-smokers use aspirin for both these issues hence they will not be affected by ban on campus wide smoking. Another important term that comes into consideration here is “social smoker”. This term can be defined in various ways but generally accepted definition of social smoker is the person who smokers for interacting with his/her colleagues rather than having an urge for nicotine (Wahl 2007).
Bans on the use, sales and advertising of tobacco in all of its forms are enacted and considered at about half of college campuses nationwide, these bans take place over the main objections of the student smokers, faculty and staff and is mainly driven by the mounting evidence related to the existing and prospective secondhand smoke health risks, reduced costs associated with smoke free dorms along with the drive to lower the enticements of smoking at the critical age of forming the lifelong habits (Absolute Smoking Bans on College Campuses, 2012).
In case of any ban on smoking campus-wide area will affect the social smokers while it will have no effect in non-smokers community. The smokers will fell distress in non-smoking groups while pressing their urges for smoking. Tthis will produce differences among students and will bring difficulties for smokers in mixing with their colleagues. Smoking is not only an addiction to smokers but also used as means of getting relief from stress, fear, emotions, and overweight. It also helps smokers to socially interact with their colleagues. A campus-wide ban on smoking will not only prevent smokers from campus-wide smoking but it will deprive them of their many healthy activities for short term duration which may affect their exams. Am campus-wide ban on smoking will have strong effects on smokers’ studying habits resulting in lack of concentration in studies and craving of nicotine resulting in overeating causing them to gain weight. Such a ban will be discriminatory for smokers due to the reason that it will have no effect on non-smokers. The ones who will suffer not only in terms of not being able to smoke but also in terms of losing focus in their studies and social interactions will be only smoking students. The problem to be addressed here is the contradictory situation in which either ban on smoking and allowing the smoking cab be unfair for smokers and nonsmokers in each case respectively. To resolve this issue the best solution will be to ban smoking within the class rooms and auditorium etc. while allowing to smoke in open areas in order to ensure safety and health of non-smoker while allowing smokers to continue with their smoking needs as mentioned in this paper. So to conclude this paper it can be said that a campus-wide smoking ban is unfair to smokers because it is not made for all students.
Americans for Nonsmokers’’ Rights. “Colleges and Universities.” 05 October 2012.
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Absolute Smoking Bans on College Campuses." 29 June 2012. http://latino.foxnews.com. 05 December 2012.