Smoking at UD remains static despite nationwide drop




By Linda Smith

A & E Editor





The number of smokers has dropped across the country, however the number of smokers on campus seems to have remained unchanged.  The Rome semester and social situations tend to contribute to this culture at UD. -Photo by Elizabeth Kerin
The number of smokers has dropped across the country, however the number of smokers on campus remains unchanged. 
-Photo by Elizabeth Kerin


As a prospie in 2010, I walked down the Mall the Friday of Odyssey Days. I remember it being packed with people relaxing in the common areas during the midday Friday buzz. Near the Science Building, a large group of students stood smoking cigarettes and a large cloud permeated the air around them. I looked toward the front of Haggar and saw a similar scene. My eyes quickly scanned everywhere between Braniff and the Tower and I realized that these small groups dotted the Mall with this ritualistic practice. As I browsed, the University of Dallas marketing intern accompanying me said something to the effect of this being the norm at UD. Many people pick up the habit in Rome and it just carries through for the rest of their time here, she told me; that is, if they do not come here already smoking.

So, that’s it? Smoking was just supposed to be something we all picked up, like a weird rite of passage in the college experience? Her words were dissatisfying to me: It was not enough to trump the educational opportunities this place offers, but even now I wonder about how odd it was that this was accepted as a plain fact, something that is just understood about this community.

Changes to policies involving smoking have come up in recent years, with the first implementation of the city ordinance in 2007, which prohibited smoking within 25 feet of any building. E-cigs were added to the policy this fall, ending a debate that had begun in February of this year over whether or not they should be regarded as an extension of cigarettes. Yet cigarette use still continues: I do not believe it was the aim of these policies to curb or end it altogether, but other initiatives to do so have not yet revealed themselves.

Smoking Info graphic3

According to a survey conducted by Claire Ballor, commentary editor of The University News, on Friday, Oct. 24, out of 54 students who were randomly surveyed on the Mall, 50 percent smoked. Fifty percent of those smokers said they smoke multiple times a day. Over half of the 54 students started when they came to UD, with 65 percent starting their sophomore year. 66 percent smoke socially, while only 23 percent smoke to relieve stress.

The above data is not at all surprising. 24.2 percent of the Italian population smokes daily, according to a 2002/2003 survey at, and other European countries are in the same range, with the highest percentage being 36.3 percent in Austria. Given these statistics, one can see that the influence is very much present in a UD student’s Rome semester. The students who smoke to relieve stress quickly find out that there is too much stress to make it an acceptable escape. I say this as someone who smoked with another friend “when we were stressed” for about two weeks, a practice that led to thin wallets and a need to end our growing addiction immediately. However, socially, the tantalizing temptation can easily take over and often does (again, something this writer has personally dealt with).

Several campaigns to end smoking have come up in recent months. A website named has begun a campaign with the hashtag #finishit, and a video called “Finishers.” The video, as of 6:45 p.m. on Oct. 25, had over 500,000 views on YouTube. The campaign’s mantra states that this generation can be the one to end smoking, as it is down to nine percent of teens nationwide. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also began a campaign in June of this year called “Tips from Former Smokers.” It features graphic ads and videos of people whose lives have been devastated by smoking, and features a gamut of situations, from people who have lost nearly all of their teeth to a woman who tragically passed away.

I am not trying to dissuade people from smoking; as someone who has occasionally smoked since the age of 18 and who has been around it for most of my life, I think it is something that draws people in for certain understandable reasons, and it is not the worst thing to occupy a few minutes with. However, I have to wonder if we will continue to view it as a part of our school’s culture that is just “how it is,” or if we will jump on a healthy bandwagon for the better.

Smoking WEB
Junior George Paddock sits on the mall patio smoking an E-cigarette. -Photo by Rebecca Rosen


  1. Really? This school is full of proud pro-lifers yet they participate in an activity that will most certainly kill them? Hahahaha Hypocrisy at it’s finest. Ya’ll are great please don’t change anything; this is great stand up material.

    • since you’re such a stickler for pro-life and obviously don’t smoke, I’m going to assume that you have never vote for a politician that supports any war, or form of euthanasia, you also don’t believe in the death penalty. Based on the extremity of your statement I will also assume you don’t drink alcohol, coffee, eat processed sugars or support fast food, and I’m sure you don’t buy anything from wal-mart either since they support child labor and really they aren’t a just system as evidenced by the way the constantly devalue human life with their low wages? I’m sure you also never gossip, judge harshly, or wear any clothing produced by anyone except yourself because how else could you ensure that they were made justly, that no one caught a disease from the chemicals that made the pigments for the cloth? You probably also only use computers that are part of some public domain to ensure that no one died from the toxins and bad working conditions necessary to create any sort of modern technology.

      essentially, your comment is out of place as there are much more important things you should be worried about instead of so casually handing out criticisms as one does handshakes.

      • I can honestly say that I consciously do not engage in a majority of the things you listed although sometimes I slip up just like any human being. My point (that you clearly missed) is that pro lifers should absolutely not judge women for having abortions, not because the bible says so, but because they hypocritically and habitually smoke cigarettes.

  2. In response to the first comment, there is quite a difference between the issue of abortion and that of smoking. Both are completely different subjects and while it is understandable how one may try to compare them, the logical reasoning behind each is quite different. Abortion is immediate; the mother is choosing to abort the life of her unborn child. Smoking, on the other hand, is a gradual thing that one can quit after having made the decision to smoke in the first place. A woman who has gone through an abortion can’t decide not to go through with it after it has already been done.

    • I respect your opinion, your logical reasoning is ostensibly sound, however, you are operating under the assumption that the argument against abortion is consistent.

      If a Fertilized egg was a person

      Catholic dogma dictates that life begins at fertilization, but even after the eggs are fertilized; it takes six or seven days before they reach the uterus via the fallopian tube. They do not all make it that far though, 80% of the fertilized eggs are rinsed and flushed out of her body once a month during those wonderful few days.
      They end up on napkins and yet they are still fertilized eggs or lives or people, or souls right??

      Consistency is the problem here:
      According to Catholic thinking and reasoning, This women is a murderer! We need to stop periods before they kill any more souls!!!!! O MY GOSH !!!! AWW!!!!!

      Cigarettes kill people that are well out of the womb, almost half a million a year because it is a highly addictive drug, in fact, nicotine is the most addictive drug on the planet right now.

      That is why they are completely different subjects.

      I invite any one to point out any inconsistencies in the argument above without committing any logical fallacies. I hope this didn’t cause any cognitive dissonance..

  3. My fascination with this article is that despite these numbers, the University still insists on masking the fact that people smoke as if it were not part of our University identity.

    should it change? perhaps. must it? I don’t think so. In this day and age its impossible to be a smoker and not be aware of the effects it has on your or your body, the decision to smoke is a very conscious one, and an interesting reflection of how the school’s curriculum and rigor also produce this effect of which we are tired or ashamed of.


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