What is ‘smocializing‘?
‘Smocializing’ is a serious health problem affecting thousands of Canadian university and college students. Smocializing is defined as smoking cigarettes only in social settings and situations, like parties. A study by the Ontario government shows that young adults (20 to 24) smoke 20 percent more than any other age group. 1 in 4 Canadian smokers will have their first cigarette by their 18th birthday. Researchers suspect that peer pressure as well as stress during university and college are the main reasons why students smoke more than any other age group.
Terri Schneider is the senior coordinator at the Smoker’s Helpline for Ontario. She says what makes smocializing so problematic is that many social smokers don’t even consider themselves smokers. She explains that even if you only light up a cigarette once in a while you are not immune to its numerous health dangers.
The health risks
Schneider says social smokers are at risk of developing cardiovascular disease, lung cancer, and other forms of cancer. Social smoking can also affect your appearance by yellowing your nails and teeth and aging skin faster. Though, there’s good news; social smokers who quit by the age of 30 can eliminate the increased risk for cancer, heart disease, and other tobacco-related illnesses.
How to quit
To encourage tech-savvy students to quit, the Smoker’s Helpline has created a texting service to give social smokers free guidance on giving up this bad habit. Smokers simply text “I quit” to 123456 to receive advice and steps on leaving the pack behind. If smokers prefer to pick up the phone they can talk one-on-one with quit coaches who will work with them to reach the best plan for recovery.
Sign up for free nicotine patches and gum
There’s also many programs and services right here in our backyard to help social smokers stay away from cigarettes like the Ontario government’s Leave the Pack Behind campaign. LTPB is a tobacco-control program that offers young adults free information and resources to help them quit smoking. When students sign up for the program they receive 8 weeks of free nicotine patches and gum delivered right to their door.