Smoking Gets Schooled

Preventing smoking in college students

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) College is the first time many students are away from home. It can also be the first time they start smoking. A new study is looking for ways to prevent college smokers from becoming lifelong smokers.

According to a new study, researchers believe certain college activities, such as parties, drinking or work trigger a connection to smoking. These events were where college students smoked the most.

Having intervention programs that educate students on the harms and risks of cigarettes before these events, may lead to a better response by college students leading them to quit smoking.

"Consult your doctor about ways to quit smoking."

Lead author Nikole Cronk, PhD, assistant professor of family and community medicine at the University of Missouri, studied the behaviors of fraternity and sorority members from 2006 to 2008. The study found that students associated smoking with social activities, such as going to a party, and work were more likely to smoke at these events. The weekend and the beginning of the semester were when smoking was at its highest level.

Dr. Cronk believes that by sending email messages or warnings about cigarettes before the weekend or at the start of the semester can have the greatest impact on preventing smoking in college students. Top cues for smoking included vacation, partying, drinking, working as well as fraternity and sorority events.

The study states that over 500,000 deaths are associated with smoking. Over 1,000 young people begin smoking daily.

Most smokers began smoking before the age of 24. The study reported that 30 percent of college students were smokers which was 10 percent higher than the national average. Targeting college students early can possibly reduce the number of lifelong smokers.

Most college students believe that they won't smoke after college, but most continue to smoke. Dr. Cronk says that there is no way to determine if a person can quit easily and intervention programs are needed to help curb the behavior.

Dr. Cronk believes that by understanding what is important to an individual will lead to better results. Understanding why an individual smokes can help tailor an effective way to reduce their smoking.

Future studies can focus on developing messages that college students can relate and see if any are effective in curbing smoking behavior.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
November 17, 2011
Last Updated:
November 18, 2011