By Phyllis Baker
University can be an overwhelming experience. Students choose markedly different ways to cope with stress. While some go in for sports, others smoke. What makes them choose the latter option? And how does it affect studying?
It’s interesting that smokers try to find at least one excuse for their habit. To objectively evaluate such lifestyle, we’ll weight all the pros and cons.
Pro: Relieving stress?
Students’ schedules are busy: lots of assignments, extracurricular activities, part-time job, and a private life. High pressure makes them look for the ways to relax. A traditional cigarette or an electronic cigar becomes a pill against stress.
Numerous studies prove the contrary. British researchers from Oxford University and King’s College London found out that smoking doesn’t reduce stress. Quitting does! They claim that smoking causes anxiety and say that smokers “deserve to know this”.
Pro: Easier communication.
Freshmen often start smoking just to make friends in a new place. It can be a tool for socializing – just ask a fellow smoker for a cigarette or the brand of their e cig vaporizer (visit vapingdaily.com for more info). The conversation has already begun!
Con: Going outside for a smoke break.
Smoking in the dorm is forbidden. And nicotine cravings force you to leave a comfy room and go outdoors in any weather, be it a heavy rain or frost.
Con: Smoking bans across the universities.
More and more universities and colleges go tobacco-free. The reason for this tendency is creating a healthier and more accessible environment for employees, students, and visitors. Now, each nicotine addicted student has to go off campus every time they need a five-minute break, no matter how far it is.
Pro: A possibility to avoid a boring or unpleasant conversation.
A smoker can interrupt a conversation any time by saying: “Excuse me, please. I need to go and smoke a cigarette.” It’s a sure way to leave a bothersome chatterbox alone if they don’t smoke.
Con: You diminish a chance of getting into relationships.
What would you do if you meet the man or woman of your dreams but he or she is against cigarette smoking? You would kick smoking immediately, wouldn’t you? Well, it’s easier said than done. Breaking any habit is challenging.
Pro: Controlling weight.
Some students keep using tobacco for purposes of weight control and weight loss. On average, smokers weigh seven pounds less than non-smokers. Smoking kills appetite and decreases the sense of taste and smell. But for the side effects like cancer, it would be a good weight-control strategy.
Con: An enormous health burden.
Tobacco use increases your risk of developing coronary heart disease, osteoporosis, and high blood pressure. 16 types of cancer can be caused by this habit. In fact, smoking harms nearly every organ of the body.
Con: Damaging your budget.
You need money to cover accommodation, food, transport, study materials, etc. Count the monthly expenses on cigarettes. Don’t you think it’s time to improve your money management skills?
Con: Worse memory
The researchers from Northumbria University in England performed a simple but interesting experiment to test “real world” memory abilities. The volunteers were 69 participants of a university campus tour. 27 of them were current smokers, 18 were ex-smokers, and 24 never smoked.
People received a list of 15 campus locations to visit and actions to make at each of them. For example, they were supposed to find the library and check their phones for new messages there or visit the sports center in order to ask about the cost of membership. The results are as follows:
- On average, the smokers completed 8.9 tasks correctly.
- The former smokers had 11 correctly completed tasks. That is 25% better performance in comparison with the current smokers.
- People who had never smoked performed an average of 12.1 tasks which is 37% better than the result of the smokers.
Con: Lower GPA.
According to the study released by the University of Minnesota, college students who use tobacco are less likely to show high academic performance.
Those who said they had smoked within the past month had an average GPA of 3.12 compared with a 3.28 GPA for those who reported not smoking. Surprisingly, even students who smoked a few cigarettes in a month had lower GPAs than those who didn’t smoke at all.
For a university student, there are still more cons than pros to smoking during studying. Dropping the useless habit will have more benefits than improving your health and academic performance. Here they are:
- Becoming more socially acceptable by non-smoking peers
- Becoming a good role model for your siblings
- No more awful smell from your hair and clothes
- Reduced risk of diseases of family and friends from second-hand smoke exposure
- Decreased guilt of harming your family and friends
- Making them proud of you
- Feeling proud of yourself
- Strengthened willpower
- Increased sense of self-esteem
- Upgraded confidence in setting and achieving goals
- Avoiding premature aging of the skin
- Increased sense of taste and smell
- Less negative impact on the environment
- No nagging feelings of always wanting to quit.
There’re different ways to quit smoking:
- The cold turkey approach (shunning smoking at one go);
- Nicotine replacement therapy (patches, gums, and lozenges);
- Professional assistance (support from a qualified health professional);
- The alternative method (using an e-cigarette).
You might have heard that e-cigs are a healthier alternative to smoking and seen unique e cigs on the net. Vapors all over the world report that they managed to reduce the number of tobacco cigarettes they smoke.
As a college student, you should think twice before lighting a cigarette. The habit puts smokers in a disadvantaged position. To improve your wellbeing, academic results, social relationships, and other aspects of your life, consider giving up smoking.
It doesn’t matter what method you use. Just keep in mind the benefits you will reap when you succeed.
About the Author: Phyllis Baker is the journalist and blogger. Currently, she manages public relations for the quitting smoking community.