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Smoking in College

NEPatsGirlNEPatsGirl Registered User Posts: 2,226 Senior Member
As an off-shoot of another thread that mentions several schools where smokers were a big turn-off while visiting campus, I guess I feel a need to comment or question about this. FWIW, we were completely turned off by smokers on the Vassar campus during our visit in 2014 and just this past weekend I had to endure a group of smokers just under my D's apartment window at her school. She said they congregate there, just outside their apartment door, on a regular basis and the smoke lifts up into her room, which is disturbing to her, not to mention the late night noise when they are congregating at the end of a night. When we were leaving her room I noticed the ash trays at this area and they were gross.

So, anyways, I was a very heavy smoker, starting at 15 (1976) and quit 20 years ago this Thanksgiving Day when D was 9 months old. All my friends smoked in high school, we had a smoking station where it was allowed during the school day with a permit. Many of us smoked right up until 15 or 20 years ago but there's only a handful that haven't been able to quit their habit.

That being said, none of us have kids who smoke. My kids don't have any friends who smoke. Its rare to see high school kids around here smoking. I presume its because there's been so much information for the past several decades, the rise of age to purchase cigs, and certainly smoking carries a stigma today. There is also the logistics....no smoking in MA restaurants or on public grounds and OMDG, $10+ per pack? Smoking is pretty much frowned upon these days.

Why is it that so many college aged kids are smoking? And these are top LACs so they are bright kids, smart enough to know better. When are they starting? I just don't get it.

Replies to: Smoking in College

  • romanigypsyeyesromanigypsyeyes Registered User Posts: 32,830 Senior Member
    I don't know. I cannot fathom why someone my age would smoke. I have plenty of friends from high school that do and I know some of my undergrads do. I can smell it when they walk in :(
  • ninakatarinaninakatarina Registered User Posts: 286 Junior Member
    I smoked for a week in February of 1983. It was freshman year in college, I was hundreds of miles away from my parents, I wasn't interested in drinking, but I wanted to do something that would mark me as a member of adult society. Someone in the dorm offered me a clove cigarette, I smoked it, I disliked it less than I thought I would.

    So I smoked for a week, until I woke up one morning realizing that I reeked. I kept smoking that day. That night I called my parents and casually mentioned that I was smoking. They said, "That's too bad honey but you're a grownup now and it's your own decision".

    I quit the next morning. Smoking had been a way of separating myself from my parents but I was already separate. I saved myself thousands of dollars and probably saved myself from an early grave.

    So my personal experience says that smoking is one way for a young person to create a new adult persona, different and distinct from the high school kid who couldn't smoke. Some do it for the image. Some to annoy their parents, like I had unconsciously been (unsuccessfully) doing. Hopefully many of them will find a way to quit in a few years or decades.

    Considering the right-now health risks of drinking vs. the future health risks of smoking, I'm not sure where I would fall if I were making that choice today. Or maybe I would find another way to rebel. "Mom, I've changed my major to Philosophy".
  • suzy100suzy100 Registered User Posts: 4,312 Senior Member
    "I wanted to do something that would mark me as a member of adult society...So my personal experience says that smoking is one way for a young person to create a new adult persona, different and distinct from the high school kid who couldn't smoke. Some do it for the image."

    Yes, this is what I think it's about, and then they become addicted to the nicotine, so that's why they continue to smoke.
  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone Registered User Posts: 14,545 Senior Member
    I never even mentioned to my kids that they shouldn't smoke. They'd never think to do so, just like they'd never get in a car without putting on a seat belt.

    My parents asked very little of us (six of us) but they did ask that we not smoke. My grandfather smoked for 50+ years and died from emphysema. He was 80, but it wasn't pleasant. All my high school friends smoked and I never really understood it because most were in some kind of sport and that was very much against the rules, so they sneaked around, hid their smokes from their parents, spent their lunch money on cigs. I didn't get the glamour.
  • doschicosdoschicos Registered User Posts: 14,759 Senior Member
    edited October 12
    I think that many still think it is cool and edgy despite attempts throughout their childhood to drill it into their brain how bad it is.

    I think a lot start off as social smokers - at a party, have a buzz on from a few too many drinks and others are doing it - then get hooked.

    Some college campuses are starting to go completely smoke free, although I imagine some still sneak it anyway. College students and rules don't always get along too well.


    I don't think the list is too up-to-date though because a recent addition I know of isn't on the list.
  • MarianMarian Registered User Posts: 12,555 Senior Member
    One of my kids lived in a dorm as a sophomore that was very popular among international students. That was the one year when I heard complaints about people smoking outside, so close to the building that the smoke drifted in through open windows.

    I wonder how many of the smokers on U.S. campuses are from countries where smoking is more socially acceptable than it is here.
  • gardenstategalgardenstategal Registered User Posts: 3,212 Senior Member
    I recently was working with a company with lots of 20 somethings. Almost all smoked. They were American and from all kinds of schools, from HYP to Midwestern directionals. No discernable trend in terms of background except they all saw themselves as sort of hip. I don't know how they started but I am pretty sure none could have quit easily. ..
  • suzyQ7suzyQ7 Registered User Posts: 3,015 Senior Member
    edited October 13
    College students may not smoke cigarettes as much but many vape now- and of course, smoke pot. Or do other unhealthy things. The anti-smokers generally are perfectly fine with pot smoking though which I find comical.

    I find it pretty judgemental to reject a college because a half dozen people (out of thousands) smoke outside. Especially for all you ex-smokers!
  • MotherOfDragonsMotherOfDragons Registered User Posts: 3,956 Senior Member
    edited October 13
    The one thing I remember from my friends doing a year abroad in college is that they all came back smokers. It's so much more prevalent to this day outside the US that I really am grossed out when I run into it, and it makes me sad that the anti-smoking attitude doesn't have the same fervor as it does here in the US.
  • NEPatsGirlNEPatsGirl Registered User Posts: 2,226 Senior Member
    @suzyQ7, it appears to be quite prevalent on some campuses so I wouldn't say 6 out of thousands, geez. There were 8 people smoking beneath D's window in one small building and it happens on a regular basis. This is a school of 2500. If this happens at each building, I'm going to guess its more likely 10% of the student body.

    And, I'm not quite sure how you equate pot smoking to cigarette smoking. The people I know who smoke pot do it on occasion, not 15-20 full cigs a day, every day.
  • Dancingmom518Dancingmom518 Registered User Posts: 73 Junior Member
    A high number of smokers on a campus would definitely be a deal breaker for my daughter.
  • TomSrOfBostonTomSrOfBoston Registered User Posts: 11,629 Senior Member
    I have read that some students are glad that their campus is tobacco smoke free but get upset when someone is busted for smoking marijuana on campus.
  • momofthreeboysmomofthreeboys Registered User Posts: 15,436 Senior Member
    There are colleges and unis now with entire non-smoking campuses...if that is a mandatory criteria it can be used as you put together the college application list.
  • NJWrestlingmomNJWrestlingmom Registered User Posts: 293 Junior Member
    As @suzyQ7 said, I don't know many kids who smoke (openly) but vaping is HUGE with the kids these days. My daughter, thankfully, hates smoking but constantly comes home complaining about all the kids vaping in school. Hiding in the bathrooms, under the bleachers, etc.... This is a top high school in an extremely wealthy town. My S17 went to a high school 30 miles away, more rural, not as highly ranked, not as affluent and vaping was everywhere. Kids don't seem to think it has any of the negative side effects. I've seen very little smoking on our campus visits.
  • NEPatsGirlNEPatsGirl Registered User Posts: 2,226 Senior Member
    @TomSrOfBoston, I understand that logic. Again, pot smoking is generally an occasional venture while cigarette smoking is all day, every day.

    @momofthreeboys, many campuses are non-smoking now. My original post mentioned Vassar where I first realized that smoking was allowed on any campus, not sure why I wasn't aware but I digress. Vassar is now a smoke-free campus.

    Massachusetts has very strict laws about public smoking; in fact, you can no longer smoke on the public beaches in my town and they are enforcing it. You cannot smoke on the grounds where I work, nor any other hospital grounds that I know of. You cannot smoke on school grounds. No smoking in restaurants or bars. Smokers are treated like pariahs lol; funny, not funny.
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