21 Feb 2012

BGSU smoking rate increasing

Author: Kelsey Rentner | Filed under: BGSU, Local stories, Spring 2012

BGSU implemented different ways in which the campus would become as close to "smoke-free" as possible. Photo by Kelsey Rentner

By Kelsey Rentner

The smoking rate has been increasing at BGSU, following the trend of smoking among college students throughout the nation.

A 2005 study showed that as many as 10 percent to 20 percent of college students begin smoking or become regular smokers while they are in college. According to a 2010 report from the American College Health Association (ACHA), 32 percent of American college students ages 18-24 are smokers, up from 25 percent in 2004. The same study also found that 32 percent of BGSU students are smokers, mirroring the national trend.

When attending college, students say they often find themselves around alcohol, which is a reason for why they choose to smoke.

“Honestly, I only smoke when I am around alcohol,” said liberal studies major Cody Gilliam, 21, of Upper Sandusky, Ohio. “I think that alcohol and smoking are correlated, meaning they are both addicting which is why students choose to do so.”

A study conducted by a student in 2009 found that moderate and social smokers are more likely to be drinkers, to engage in high-risk drinking and to be active in Greek organizations, according to the Nicotine and Tobacco Research.

Smoke-free campuses are growing among the country. The Journal of American College Health shows that researchers Halperin and Rigotti found that the number of campuses regulating smoking in student residences increased from 1 percent to 54 percent between 1994-1995 and 2002-2003. At least 648 colleges have joined the trend in becoming a smoke free campus, according to the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation. BGSU has not yet joined this trend.

In 1994, the BGSU Board of Trustees expanded its existing non-smoking policy in buildings to also include a ban in all resident halls. Researchers who study college tobacco use found that smoke-free residence halls might have helped students who were not regular smokers prior to college avoid taking up smoking during college, according to the American Journal of Preventative Medicine. Other actions to deter smoking on this campus include an ordinance that smokers must stand at least 15 feet away from a building if they choose to smoke.

The same 1994 non-smoking policy passed by the BGSU Board of Trustees also included a statement to help students and employees quit smoking.  The policy provided services to help faculty and students to stop smoking.

Other ways BGSU has pitched a smoke free campus is by promoting “no smoking” campaigns, banning the purchase of cigarettes on campus, and through simple education from faculty to students, BGSU Associate Director of Clinical Services Barb Hoffman said.

While smokers may not like following BGSU policies on smoking, non-smoking students said they benefit from these rules.

“I like the fact that there is no smoking allowed inside buildings. It protects my body from second-hand smoke and keeps me healthy,” said sophomore aviation major, Kyle Ulrich, 20, of Toledo, Ohio. “I also like the distance regulation because that prevents smoke from entering the building since smokers must stand a certain amount of feet away.”

Students seeking assistance to quit smoking can contact the Wellness Connection at 419-372-9355.


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