Social smoking can be just as harmful as smoking on a regular basis and may even lead to serious addiction and harmful long-term health effects. The definition of social smoking, according to Olin Health Center, is smoking a cigarette less than every day. A social smoker may only smoke a few cigarettes one night, then not smoke for days or weeks afterward.
[hand] We all know someone that is a social smoker and many of us are guilty of it too. It can be hard not to be influenced by the mystique of the act of inhaling a buzz-inducing drug. Let’s be honest- smoking feels good in some ways and it seems that having one every now and then cannot be that harmful. However in reality, social smoking is the shadowed giant lulling you into a false sense of security.
Rebecca Allen, from the Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Health Program at Olin Health Center, warns that social smoking does have its own harmful side-affects.
“The immune system will be compromised, maintaining good cardiovascular conditioning becomes increasingly difficult, brain chemistry is altered and of course the risk of addiction and more compulsive use is always there,” Allen said.
Olin Health Center treats social smokers more regularly than nonsmokers. They said that social smokers are more likely to get bronchitis, coughs and asthma attacks than nonsmokers. So how can people justify social smoking?
You have heard the flimsy excuses, or quite possibly you subscribe to them. “I only have a couple every now and then.” “I only smoke when I drink and I rarely drink.” “It doesn’t matter if you smoke a little now and again because your lungs will take care of themselves when you stop someday.” Unfortunately, that probably is not the best approach to take.
Local student Jenn Boak has a cigarette three or four times a month when outdrinking or when she is stressed out. “It’s not that big of a deal because it doesn’t have as many long term affects,” Boak said. “It’s not a daily thing for me.”
Matt Wise, a local student and social smoker, recognizes that social smoking is harmful but agrees with Boak that it is not that big of a deal. “It’s all harmful, all the same thing and either way you are going to get sick,” Wise said. “If you only smoke socially it is just going to take you longer.”
According to Olin Health Center many people smoke socially because they do not realize the harmful effects and most likely do not realize how easy it is to get addicted. They also said that peer pressure or simply being around people who smoke may make it easier to light one up in situations where you might not normally do so. It’s more tempting to smoke while out at the bar drinking, at a party, when stressed out about school and during a tough time in your life.
The truth of the matter is, social smoking is just as harmful as smoking a cigarette every day. We all know that cigarettes are bad for you and just because you may have one every now and then it does not change the ingredients that make the cigarette bad in the first place.
Olin Health Center sheds light on the facts of social smoking on their informational website. According to the center, nicotine is one of the most addictive drugs known and though you might not be dependent on cigarettes right now, it is easy to start smoking more regularly and not even notice it.
If you do begin smoking regularly, the affects to your body become more serious. Olin Health Center said that a person is much more likely to get lung cancer or heart disease if they smoke socially, or smoke everyday. Permanent damage can occur to your eyes, throat, bones, joints and skin in just five years of smoking even if you quit at a later time. But once you are addicted, it is very hard to stop.
Not only is social smoking harmful to your health, the negative effects extend to your general appearance as well. Most students cringe at the thought of yellow teeth, bad breath and smelly clothes, all of which are side affects of smoking.
If none of these reasons are convincing enough, think of those around you. Smoking means secondhand smoke, which Olin Health Center said can also cause lung cancer and other serious health problems in nonsmokers. Innocent bystanders are going to suffer the consequences of even that occasional puff.
Although social smoking may not mean that you identify as a smoker or sit in the smoking section of a restaurant, its affects are just as harmful as smoking every day.

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