November 1969

South students cite their views on cigaret smoking

   The discoveries of the link between smoking and cancer have resulted in the trend toward personal thought as regards to the cigaret habit, many students at Maine South, along with the teachers, have expressed their personal opinions about cigaret smoking in the high school.
   Some students stated the main reason students start smoking is the need to feel socially accepted.
   "When you're in with a group and they're all smoking, after a while you start smoking because you have to make yourself feel adjusted," a student stated.
   One student commented that the desire for social acceptance in many groups in high school stems from the belief that smoking is an expression of maturity; "They think it's cool."
   "I started smoking freshman year. I was kind of immature."
   "I have to feel identified."
   "I feel more comfortable."
   The development of the "need" for a cigaret is a frequent problem among students who smoke. One student states she needed a cigaret because of "nervousness...like when I'm waiting for someone, I pull one out."
   "It's something to hold on to. It's my own security blanket."
   "I started smoking because I felt like it until I found that I started to really need them."
   "You smoke for the fun of it until you get really hooked and you have to."
   The students observed did not think it's "morally" wrong for a student to smoke.
   "I didn't see anything morally wrong in smoking. When I became old enough to spend the money on them, I said to myself, 'Why not take them?'"
   One student who quit smoking remarked, "Smoking in the washrooms is crazy. Anybody who does it deserves the three-day suspension."
   Another student disagreed. "Sometimes you need a cigaret!"
The same remarked, "You smoke in the washrooms to see if you can get away with it."
   One student who smokes admits that he doesn't care about the possible ill effects of smoking. "I'm living now. What difference does the future make to me?"
   Two students who quit smoking stated their main reason for stopping was athletics.
   "Everything seemed too strenuous. It was hard to catch my breath."
   "I wanted to go out for wrestling. I knew about the dangers involved with smoking, and I was afraid I wouldn't pass my physical."
   "Smoking and sports don't fit together."
   Other reasons for quitting the habit were as follows:
   "My girlfriend didn't want me to die off on her."
   "I thought it out for a while. I knew I'd ruin myself after a while."
   "It started to get too expensive."
   "I figured I would quit smoking someday anyway."
   Asked if he found it difficult to quit the cigaret habit, one student replied, "It was hard to quit. But I made up my mind to do it. I really wanted to stop."
    All the students observed commented that commercials that urge people to quit smoking had no real effect on them.
   "Signs like 'Caution: smoking may be dangerous to your health' don't mean anything to me."
   "Those cancer commercials actually gave me the impulse to smoke."
   One student remarked that the commercials give the impression that the dangers of smoking are too far away and that it will never hit them. "It's like the slums, you don't realize how bad they are until you actually see them."
   "Statistics are only numbers on a piece of paper--they don't help either."
   "Something has to happen to you personally to see the dangers of smoking. If I saw something like that, it would probably make me cut down a lot."
   One student smoker reflected on quitting the cigaret habit sometime in the future. "I'll probably quit when I get out of high school and all these social pressures are done."
   College students and adults don't have any social pressures?