More Kent State students smoke than national average

Celia Fernandez

Students starting college are faced with new experiences and pressures much different than those they have faced in the past. In order to ease the stress caused by their new lifestyles, many students turn to smoking — the leading cause of preventable deaths in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Students are likely to smoke because they are trying to adjust to coming to college and what that means — the transition and the stress that comes from that transition,” said Dr. R. Scott Olds, professor of social and behavioral sciences in the College of Public Health.

About one in every five deaths a year is caused by smoking cigarettes and/or tobacco products, according to the CDC.

“You could add all the deaths from alcohol, homicide, and it still wouldn’t add up to all the ones from tobacco smoking,” Olds said.

According to the CDC, an estimated 46 million or 20.6 percent of the United States adult population smoke cigarettes.

From Center for Disease Control and Prevention:

1. More than 90% of adult smokers start smoking before their 18th


2. In 2009, 21.8% of smokers were between the ages of 18 and 24 years old.

From a study by the college of public health at Kent State University:

1. In the Spring of 2011, 25% of undergraduate students smoke, which is 5% more than the national

average of smokers.

“In the spring (of) 2011, we found 25 percent of undergraduate students at Kent State smoke, which is five percent above the national average of adults who smoke,” Olds said.

According to a study done by the American Lung Association in 2008, one in five college students smoke daily. Nicotine, the addictive substance found in tobacco, has been proven to serve as a stimulant and mood-altering drug.

“It makes me feel warm; you have like a buzz,” said Alex Vadas, freshman visual communication design major.

While a lot of students start smoking when they come to college, Olds said most students who smoke have tried tobacco products before actually getting to college.

“From what we know about people who start smoking, almost 90 percent of kids start smoking before their 18th birthday,” Olds said.

Contact Celia Fernandez at [email protected].