If a student smokes one pack a day of Camel Lights, normally priced at $4.20, that student will have spent $1,533 on cigarettes in a year. A recent study revealed that the number of young adults smoking cigarettes is on the rise and women in particular face increasing smoking-related health problems.
In information released by the American Lung Association of Michigan, nearly 25 percent of women over the age of 18 smoke. As a result, 5,600 women smokers in Michigan will die this year.
“I have worked in other areas like University of Arizona and University of Illinois, and there is definitely more smokers here than anywhere else,” said Dustin Desnyder, manager of Scorekeepers Bar and Grill on Maynard Street.
The prevalence of smoking in Michigan has caused Michigan”s lung cancer death rate to be 2 percent above the national average. Lung cancer has become the leading cause of cancer-related death among women, surpassing breast cancer. In Michigan, about 45 of every 100,000 women have lung cancer.
A study conducted by the British Faculty and Institute of Actuaries discovered that 30-year-old women smokers will die seven years sooner than non-smoking women. Men of the same age will die 5.5 years sooner than their nonsmoking counterparts.
Officials at the Harvard University School of Public Health view this increase in smoking as a result of tobacco companies” campaigns targeting 18 to 24-year-olds on college campuses. A recent Harvard study found that residence halls seem to contribute to students” nicotine addictions.
The Harvard study of 4,495 students from 101 schools found that college students who live in smoke free dorms are 40 percent less likely to become smokers.
For many, the problem starts prior to college. A Center for Disease Control report found that 6,000 kids under the age of 18 try a cigarette each day and half that number become daily smokers. In addition, 4.5 million adolescents between ages 12 and 17 smoke cigarettes.
“I started smoking because of my best friend”s older sister who made us think it was cool when we went out with her to parties in high school” said one LSA sophomore.
She said she now smokes half a pack every day. “I am trying to quit, but it is hard because I am hooked. I have tried to quit five times without a program,” she added.
University of Michigan officials said they are aware of the addictiveness of nicotine and have set up a tobacco consultation service to help.
The program is geared to “extinguishing one behavior and replacing it with others and creating coping mechanisms for stress,” said Linda Thomas, program associate for UMH Health Promotion Division.
“We recommend for those attempting to quit to initially avoid situations where there is smoking, like bars, especially because when drinking alcohol it lowers your inhibitions, making it easier for them to say, “oh I can have one cigarette,”” Thomas said.
The seemingly encouraging atmosphere of bars and restaurants as well as the associated health risks of second-hand smoke led the city of Marquette to create a ban on smoking in restaurants. This law was challenged in the Michigan Court of Appeals where it was decided that no city in Michigan could put a ban on smoking cigarettes.
Although the plan failed in Marquette, the Smoke Free Air Act bans smoking in New York City restaurants and city vehicles but allows it in bars and nightclubs.
The Smoke Free Air Act in New York is relatively lenient when compared to many California laws such as one instituted in Palo Alto, Calif.
In Palo Alto, smoking is prohibited in all public places, service locations, city pool cars and in 50 percent of unenclosed eating establishments.