Smoking is up among college students, center reports

Though tobacco use in the nation has recently declined overall, its use is up among college-aged students, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

Of those college students in Utah who currently smoke, 61.7 percent of them have tried and failed to quit, often more than once, according to the Center for Disease Control.

However, some students are making it happen. Three years ago, Tyler Black, a graduate student in family ecology, quit smoking.

“It felt so good to breathe. I noticed a big difference after I quit and it was definitely worth [quitting] not to have that crutch,” Black said.

The U wants to help others follow in Black’s footsteps.

The Tobacco Taskforce, a U student group, meets once a month to discuss the tobacco issues on campus and to help people who want to quit smoking. Rachel Crane, a senior in health promotion and education who works for the health department, explained the group helps by educating and changing policies.

Also the Alcohol and Drug Education Center will offer a “Smoking Sensation” class in January which is a two-week course created to help smokers kick the habit.

“We wanted to give people a chance to quit smoking,” Crane said.

The American Cancer Society is also trying to convince people to quit smoking for one day, in hopes they will quit for life, with its Great American Smoke-out today.

The Smoke-out started from a 1974 event in Minn., with the state’s first D-Day, or Don’t Smoke Day. Three years later, Arthur Mullaney of Randolph, Mass., adapted the idea, asking people to give up cigarettes for a day and donate the money they would have spent to a high school scholarship fund. The idea caught on in California in 1976 where nearly one million smokers were prompted to quit for the day, marking the first smoke-out.

Tonight at 7 p.m. in the Union ballroom, the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Resource Center will host “The Last Drag Drag Show,” in conjunction with the day’s events.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “tobacco kills more people than alcohol, cocaine, crack, heroin, suicide, homicide, car crashes, fires and AIDS combined.”

And tobacco is an expensive killer at that.

Cigarettes cost between $2 and $4 a pack. If a person smoked two packs a day, it would cost about $3,000 for a year’s supply, more than the cost of tuition for one semester.

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