The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Social smoking more dangerous than some believe

The silent killer of smoking comes in many forms. Serious smokers know the damage they are doing to themselves, but there’s another kind of smoker known as social smokers.

Some doctors say that social smokers don’t exist. Others disagree; they call them ‘chippers.’ A chipper is an occasional smoker who does not smoke with the regularity or frequency that is typical of addicted smokers.

The term, and was coined in the 1980s by psychologist Dr. Saul Shiffman, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh. Studies done by state social smokers smoke less because of the good quality and the relaxing atmosphere they put themselves in to smoke. In recent years Hookah Lounges have been sprouting up all over the country making social smoking less taboo and more ‘cool’ among young adults.

According to the American College of Health Association, one cigarette can weaken your heart causing it to work harder and spiking your blood pressure.

The American College of Health Association also found that being a social
smoker plus thirty minutes of exposure to second-hand smoke is as dangerous as
smoking everyday. Cigarette smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals, some
which have been proven to have cancer-causing agents, including arsenic, lead and

‘I’ve been smoking for six years, I agree with bans on smoking, but I don’t want to be lectured,’ said Vanessa Smith, junior, psychology major.

Current CSUN policies prohibit people to smoke within 20ft of any building. Dr. Kathleen Young, chair of the smoke free task force states, ‘It is our job to assess and see if the current tobacco policies are being enforced on campus. The task force works with the green movement under the Clean Air Act keeping the campus free of pollution from cigarette butts and is supported by the American Lung Association.’

According to the National Cancer Institute cigarettes are more addictive than heroin. Within ten seconds the nicotine reaches the brain and instantly tells it, ‘Puff more.”

‘If your not addicted what would make you continuously put poison into your body?’ said Janis Martin, wellness coach at the Klotz student health center.

A number of surveys show that a large amount of U.S. smokers don’t smoke every day and this trend appears to be growing. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse up to 15 million U.S. smokers claim they don’t light up on a daily basis. Many of them say they are trying to quit. However many light smokers known, as chippers have no wish to quit. These are people who smoke no more than a couple of cigarettes a day.

Until recently, not much was known about chippers. Most research focused on the heavy daily smokers, people who had between ten and twenty cigarettes a day. These are people who experts says smoke anywhere they can, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse website these people smoke when they are stressed, happy eating, full, working or relaxing.

Chippers are a different breed; they have particular situations and places where they smoke. Some, but not all, are social smokers.

‘Yes, some people are social smokers, however there are more people who think they are then they actually are. One cigarette is not enough, they start to make excuses to be in social settings to get their fix, or once in there setting they have between ten and twenty cigarettes in one night,’ said Martin.

In a survey conducted by the Bacchus Network, the largest student health organization in the world, 60 percent of students are non-smokers, meaning they never smoked a cigarette. And about 10 percent of students are smokers who use cigarettes everyday or every other day. This leaves an estimated 30 percent who most likely do not consider themselves smokers, but smoke a couple of times each week or month.

‘I don’t smoke more or less at anytime. Smoking is more mental than physical it’s an addiction but you can quit or start when you want,’ said Marina Kantarchyn, junior, psychology major.

Many social smokers think they can quit whenever they want, but half of adolescents who start smoking will continue to smoke for at least 20 years, according to the Bacchus Network.

‘Nicotine has an emotional control over a person. It’s great when you quit not being at the drug’s whim. People smoke for different reasons, but mainly they start to fit in and be a part of the group,’ Martin said. ‘Cigarettes should not be used to control a persons weight, it will take years off your life.’

On average the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that smokers die 13 to 14 years earlier than nonsmokers.

Doctors are now telling people to beware of third-hand smoke in addition to secondhand. Third-hand smoke is the residue of smoke left on furniture by smokers. This can cause serious health issues for people with sensitive respiratory systems, especially children.

Social or not smoking has definite negative effects, it’s pertinent to seek assistance and the health center on campus can help, said Martin.

For substance and alcohol addiction assistance on campus call (818) 677-3666 and ask for an appointment with wellness coach Janis Martin.

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