Commencement is now behind many college seniors. Some may have
identified with being "social smokers" through college, but the pomp and
circumstance milestone will force them to make good on their promise to
family, spouses and friends: "I'll quit when I graduate."
While the promise is common among young adult smokers to quit after
certain milestones in their lives, like graduation, the task will prove
to be more monumental than they think, given the addictive nature of
nicotine. A paper by the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco says
that 1 out of every 2 college freshmen who smoke at low levels will
still be smoking when they are seniors and that as many as 30 percent
will convert to daily smokers.
"Freshmen who smoke on occasion will likely become more frequent smokers
as time goes by," said Courtney Ward, ADHS BTCD Chief, Office of Tobacco
Prevention & Cessation. "Most deny being smokers using the term 'social
smoker,' which implicitly discounts dependence, however, we know that
nicotine is highly addictive and over time, smokers train their brain to
need more of it."
Ideas about what a social smoker is or isn't are at the heart of a lot
of anti-smoking research. Young adults rationalize their smoking
ehavior by saying that they only smoke during certain occasions,
like when out with friends, at a bar or maybe only on weekends. However,
according to the 2012 Surgeon General's Report on Tobacco Use Among
Youth and Young Adults, progression from occasional to daily smoking
almost always occurs by age 26.
For those who plan to make good on their promise to quit smoking now
that college is complete, Ward offers some words of advice, "Use the
change to your advantage, create new routines and make a plan to quit."
Other key tips for graduates who plan to follow through on their promise
to quit follow:
CIGNAL is Arizona's anti-smoking program aimed at helping adolescent
and young adult smokers. The program offers a website (www.thecignal.com)
with customized tips and advice for young smokers and a toll free
helpline (1-800-55-66-222) where they can talk to quit coaches
specializing in young adult smokers, for free. Visit the program's
Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/thecignal.
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