Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Sunday, April 22, 2018

Smoking rates at new low

While the percentage of college students who smoke reached an all-time national low for the period since 1980, the issue of smoking continues to remain a subject for debate at AU.

This year, 19.2 percent of college students nationally smoke, according to recent statistics from the American Lung Association. About half of those smokers are "social smokers," or ones who only smoke rarely or only smoke when they drink.

Numerous factors have limited smoking for many students, including the rising prices of food and gas, as well as the numerous smoking restrictions throughout the country, according to a report released by the University of Florida. The cost of smoking has also risen significantly in the past few years. A pack of cigarettes has almost tripled in price since 2000.

Twenty-five states and D.C. have a ban on smoking in public places, according to The Washington Times. This includes restaurants, stores and most indoor businesses.

More than 130 colleges nationwide have banned smoking everywhere on campus. A report released by the University of Florida states that some colleges, like UF, have banned smoking within 50 feet of all buildings.

Brittany La Forge, a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences, said she thinks smoking is a big problem on campus.

"Every time I walk outside I see smokers," she said. "Everywhere I look, there's a cigarette. People bum off each other and the availability of cigarettes has made it difficult for me to avoid smoking."

Sydney Connelly, a freshman in the School of Public Affairs, said she does not mind smokers but is upset about the mess left behind by cigarettes on campus.

"I think [smokers] should have ashtrays available on campus so people would stop littering their cigarette butts everywhere," Connelly said. "It irritates me because there is so much litter left behind."

Austin Green, a freshman in SPA, also said he is concerned about the trash left by smokers. He said AU students should be more respectful of its motto "The American Dream is Green" by having AU provide more ashtrays on campus to ensure the campus stays clean.

Zach Narva, a freshman in the School of Communication, said he thinks students who smoke should be more respectful of non-smokers.

"As long as people are respectful and don't smoke in your face, let them do what they need to do," he said.

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