Despite the development of educational anti-smoking programs like D.A.R.E, and a general advancement of medical knowledge regarding the dangers of the carcinogens found in cigarettes, many students still choose to smoke.
According to James Eliassen, professor of psychiatry at the University of Cincinnati, novelty and the desire to experiment in the college environment contribute to a rise in student smoking rates after age 18. Additionally, Eliassen said the negative consequences of smoking seem a long way off to students, and are viewed more as a statistical probability than a realistic consequence of smoking.
Eliassen also said social smoking can be attributed to the physical ease of inhaling smoky air after having a few drinks.
“Alcoholics have a much higher rate of smoking than healthy people,” Eliassen said. “Since smoking involves inhaling smoky air, that’s much easier after alcohol has been consumed.”
Sophomore Terrence Donnelly said he was hooked on smoking well before his college years, and came to school with an established habit already in place.
“I started smoking when I was a sophomore in high school,” Donnelly said. “It started out of curiosity. It wasn’t like I was trying to fit in.”
According to Lt. Ben Spilman of the Miami University Police Department, there is a community non-smoking policy on campus, and it is up to students to encourage participation. Although the policy is not written into the Ohio Revised Code, Spilman said the policy relies on active community participation.
“It’s a community policy that everyone is expected to help enforce,” Spilman said. “It’s up to students to remind others that this is a non-smoking campus.”
According to Miami sophomore and Bagel & Deli employee Joop Roberts, there is a noticeable trend in cigarette sales based on factors like the time of day and student alcohol consumption.
“The amount of cigarettes we sell late night and during Beat the Clock is exponentially higher than at any other time,” Roberts said. “When people are drinking we sell a lot more cigarettes.”
According to Roberts, Bagel & Deli also caters to smokers who are looking for a quick buzz while trying to avoid the cost of purchasing an entire pack of cigarettes by selling three cigarettes for a dollar.
“There’s a lot of kids out there that only smoke when they’re drunk, and it caters to that,” Roberts said. “For smokers, they can scrap up some change and go buy a cigarette. It’s the ultimate convenience for both casual smokers and habitual smokers.”
Miami sophomore David Paus said his reason for occasionally smoking as a social one.
“It gives me a nice buzz, it’s a social experience and it amplifies the buzz you get from drinking,” Paus said. “I do it because it’s worth it, I don’t think a few cigarettes are going to hurt me.”