There are many reasons why people smoke. Nicotine or physical addiction sometimes causes people to crave for nicotine through sticks of cigarettes. Many studies also show that stressful situations also trigger people to smoke. These situations include the sudden urge to smoke in certain places or with certain people. Another reason why it is becoming increasingly difficult to stop smoking is because smoking often has a cathartic effect. People smoke when they feel intense negative emotions such as anxiety, frustration, and even boredom. These are a few of the reasons why even college students smoke.

Because of this, there are a lot of college campuses that are dedicating their time and effort to be a tobacco-free campus by imposing smoking bans in outdoor spaces. According to Americans for Nonsmokers’ Right (ANR), the number of college campuses that have adopted 100% smoke-free policies more than doubled from 2011 through 2013 and now includes more than 1,100 campuses. In addition, universities who imposed this ban also offer programs and resources for smoking cessation. These programs usually include consultations with health experts, counseling sessions, and behavioral sessions.

There are many ways to stop smoking. In fact, several studies have validated the effectiveness of these ways. The experts from Decipher Impact Research explore several scientifically proven and validated ways on how individuals can stop smoking permanently. Some of these ways include recording the times when you smoke, going to counseling sessions, having nicotine replacement therapy, exercising, enrolling in your social network, and even lifting weights!

Tobacco-Free and Smoke-Free… What’s the Difference?

Tobacco-Free

According to the American College Health Association, a tobacco-free campus is one that has adopted a policy of a 100% ban on the use of any form of tobacco on campus grounds including all of the campus facilities and dormitories. The ban includes all sorts of products that tobacco, such as cigarettes, nicotine chew gums, vape pens, e-cigarettes, cigars and any other form of tobacco.

Smoke-Free

Campuses that have gone smoke-free have adopted policies that restrict the use of cigarettes. However, these regulations do not include the use of other forms of tobacco, such as dips or vape pens. The Smoke-Free policy only includes the prohibition of the use of cigarettes on campus grounds and facilities. According to the American Lung Association, this type of campus policy may lead to an increase in the use of unsafe alternatives to cigarette smoking such as nicotine chew gums or e-cigarettes.

What Students Need to Know

The tobacco-free and smoke-free policies and programs are initiatives that do not just address non-smokers who do not like the smell of cigarette smoke. The primary objective of the programs is the preservation and protection of the health of young adults. In addition, these programs also address the right of non-smokers in their exposure to secondhand smoking.

Benefits of having a Tobacco-free Campus:

1-Reduction in Tobacco use among Young Adults

Research indicates that with the increasing trend of schools who employ a smoke and tobacco free policy; there is a simultaneous downward trend of college students who smoke cigarettes. In fact, statistics show that there is an almost 50% reduction of student smokers in college from 16% in 2010 to 9% in 2016. Consequently, research statistics also indicate that there is a spiraling downward trend in smoking alternatives and other tobacco products such as e-cigarettes.

2-More Education on Tobacco

Tobacco-free and smoke-free programs also pave the way in creating opportunities to educate college students about tobacco and how it affects one’s health and wellness. These programs usually include the health implications of smoking tobacco and its adverse effects to oneself, the financial impact of smoking tobacco (and other tobacco products), as well as smoking cessation interventions.

3-Economic and Environmental benefits

Aside from the health implications of smoking, we also have to consider its environmental impact. Across the globe, there are about 4.5 trillion cigarette butts littered each year – which makes them the most littered item in the world. Smoke-free and tobacco-free policies help reduce the amount of cigarette litter and even the risk of fire on the campuses. In addition, these programs and policies even reduce maintenance cost.

Overcoming nicotine dependence can be extremely difficult as there is a physical dependence associated with it. Withdrawal symptoms of smoking cessations range from mild to debilitating which is the reason why many people relapse and have several attempts before finally quitting. To quit smoking may sound like an impossible task for many smokers, but it can be reassuring that help is present when needed. Your primary support system should be your family and friends to help you be disciplined to quit smoking. In addition, there are many different scientifically-proven methods to help college smokers out. If you feel the urge to go back to smoking, connect with your school counselor or therapist to discuss the ways you can permanently wean off smoking.