The rate of those who smoke in college has fluctuated the past twenty-five years hovering around 20%.
The majority of lifelong smokers start before the age of twenty-four, says the Center for Disease Control. This implicated college students. Because of this, smoking bans are increasing. There are a variety of bans, but the UW- La Crosse currently restricts smoking in and within twenty-five feet of buildings.
There are some very concrete statistics for why this is and has been a problem in the U.S. In many cases, about 33% of college smokers, the use of tobacco products is for reducing anxiety. Academic and social anxiety can cause feelings of depression, making cigarettes an appealing option.
Another reason for the relatively high smoking rates among college students is weight loss. Especially among college women, the pressure to be thin is increasing. The CDC sites nicotine as a proven appetite suppressant, and so frequent use of cigarettes is an effective means of dieting.
A third cause for many college students to smoke is social interaction. Social smoking often takes place during study breaks, but is most prevalent when alcohol is also involved. Smoking is often more acceptable when drinking is involved because of false notions that smoking will reduce the feelings of inebriation.