For any teenager entering college, freshman year means ones thing— freedom. Some may use their freedom to try out unknown substances such as alcohol, marijuana, or cigarettes.For those who indulge too deep, the college lifestyle can turn from drunken curiosity to a life-long addiction. According to the College Tobacco Prevention Recourse, smoking prevalence is highest among freshman students.
Senior RJ Stegmeier became a statistic one fuzzy night four years ago waiting for a cab.
“It was freezing and I was impatient, said Stegmeier. “The first pull tasted awful then I got a little light headed and relaxed,” he said. “I still didn’t like it that much, but I had another the following week.”
The allure of smoking intrigues others like RJ, to try this addictive stick in the first place.
“I tried a cigarette outside a party with a group of girls who were smoking,” said senior Mike Cotrone. “It wasn’t for me though. I really just wanted to talk to these girls, I used it as my in.”
Smoking’s social element is something that connects smokers globally. Wherever you go, you’re bound to see a group of smokers huddled closely together chatting away.
“Freshman year can be a rough adjusting period. I made some of my first friends just because we became close outside Merton and Seton smoking cigarettes,” said junior Laura Marano. Many vulnerable freshmen are bound to try whatever it takes to make some friends.
Though there are countless reasons, seeing Hollywood heartthrobs glamorously smoke might make some want to try it themselves.“Brad Pitt has a fight scene in Fight Club where he’s smoking,” said sophomore Katherine Formica. “He takes off his shirt, he smokes, and I died.”
“I think that advertising and the media can really affect a person’s subconscious. Seeing stars smoke tells us it’s okay from an early age.” Though some may not be smokers, seeing their favorite actors smoke may still seem appealing.
“I’m not a smoker, but I could see why people think it looks cool,” said junior Rob Sivigny. “There’s a part in Goodfellas where the camera slowly zooms in on Robert DeNiro as he smokes a cigarette.”Most students have even had all of the health facts thrown in their face throughout their years of schooling.
Why do students continue to smoke cigarettes?
“Unless you’ve lost a family member or a close friend, the consequences of smoking don’t really impact you that much,” said senior Heather Jones.Regardless of what one may think, these risks can happen to anyone. Smokers should take much caution before each light up.
If you’re a smoker trying to quit, S.W.E.E.T peer educators are available and ready to help. Feel free to contact an educator for healthy quitting tips and facts.
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