Published On: Thu, Oct 5th, 2017

Smoking among Students: Shocking Facts

College can be a heady experience for students – it often represents the first time many of them have been away from their parents – because so much of what they are experiencing is new and unique to them. As a result, college is often a nerve-wracking experience for parents, as they have to surrender some of the influence they might have previously had over their children will be lost.

While most children will not turn into out-and-out delinquents when they go to college, pretending that it will not present its fair share of temptations in the shape of non-parent approved activities is naive. Things such as drinking (particular since a lot of college students are still underage), sneaking into clubs and pubs where they would not otherwise be allowed to go, and even good old-fashioned skipping class, are all on the menu. Moral degradation is tempting, especially since college is known for the challenges it can place upon students. Everyone is aware that college is a different environment to previous education – where before students were kept on track by the school system, in college and other further education, the onus is them to keep working. This can make new students in particular very vulnerable to any temptation.

Additionally, there can be considerable pressure to not spend time studying while at college and instead using essay writing services like as a way to take up the slack. This would be a lot harder to get away with outside of college, partly at least because of the continued presence of authority figures who might notice that something was amiss.

Finally, smoking is something that many students find themselves falling prey to while in college. Not only is smoking something which is now accessible to them due to their age, but it can also be something that many people turn to due to the stress of a new environment as well as the stress of trying to fit in with an entirely new set of people.

Smoking is Too Cool

Tobacco products which are commonly used in educational institutions fall into three main categories – cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and cigars (a new research category). Research done in various colleges has shown that up to a third of the student body had used a tobacco product of some kind recently, while up to half of the student body had at least tried some tobacco in the six months previous to the survey.

Previous research done in the nineties had already covered some statistics based around college students and smoking, but since that research had only ever looked at the percentage of students who had admitted to smoking cigarettes, the current crop of researchers had made the decision to widen their field, in order to see if the increased popularity of other tobacco products was also reflected in college students.

In this case, researchers were proven correct in their assumptions, and they found that while cigarettes remained the clear forerunner in tobacco products (most likely because of how easily obtainable they are), more students are now smoking cigars, with 23% of them having smoked a cigar within twelve months of the study, and nearly ten percent admitting to currently using cigars. Added to this, slightly less than four percent of students covered in the survey said they chewed tobacco, while slightly more than one percent of them smoked pipes.

Male versus Female Smokers

The statistics which are given concerning the tobacco industry show that use of these products is something which is equal-opportunity, at least when it comes to smoking cigarettes. The disparity comes from the use of other products, such as cigars and chewing tobacco. Because more men than women use these, so far the gender gap for smoking remains tilted in favour of men. The worry now is that this use of other tobacco products will spread across gender lines, with women taking cigars and chewing tobacco up in greater numbers.

What makes this more worrying is that, despite the tobacco industry continued insistence that it does not target anybody who is below legal age with their marketing campaigns, many students say they began smoking very young. The average age for first picking up cigarettes is fourteen, while the average age for those had either tried cigars in the past, or currently smoked cigars, was seventeen for boys and eighteen for girls.

Statistics which had been gathered in the past showed that peer pressure was most likely cause for most people taking up smoking, standing at slightly over eighty two percent for most people. Others cited that their family members smoked, thus making it an easier jump for them to begin to smoke themselves.

Predictions on Smoking in the US

For the past fifty years, research has shown that tobacco and nicotine use in the US has been falling. Unfortunately, the growth in young people using tobacco products means that these statistics seem likely to change, especially when we take into consideration that nicotine is highly addictive.

If college students, in particular, continue to use tobacco for whatever their own particular reason is, not only will the overall use of tobacco across the US continue to rise, but the gender gap which currently exists will most likely equalise as well, meaning that more women will turn to cigars and chewing tobacco in order to get their fix.

It is true that a third of the students in the survey said that they did not smoke every day – thus showing that they were casual tobacco users, and possibly not entirely addicted yet – the fact remains that nicotine is highly addictive. Even if they are casual users now, simply using tobacco products increases the risk that they will become addicted.

The changes in smoking statistics might mean that, eventually, some of the more recent laws concerning the use of tobacco products in public spaces might be reversed, since smokers will again have sufficient numbers to challenge anti-smoking laws.



While students face a number of temptations at college and other institutions of higher education, smoking is possibly the number one problem they will face, if recent research is anything to go by. Use of tobacco products is rising among young people, to such a degree as to alarm specialists. Tobacco products are very harmful, and while there are ways in which people take them which are not so harmful (the use of pipes, for example, as you don’t inhale the smoke directly when smoking a pipe), they are still using nicotine in various forms. Nicotine is always highly addictive, and using it has dangerous consequences, which many students may not fully understand due to their limited experience of the world.