Partying, drinking and work tempt college students to evoke their smoking experience, a new study has found.
According to researchers at the University of Missouri, who conducted a study on students from 2006 to 2008, smoking occurs most often at the start of the semester and on weekends.
"Students are using social events and work as cues to remind them about smoking," Newswise quoted Nikole Cronk, lead author of the study as saying.
"This research is important for those working with college students to recognize when smoking is happening at its highest levels. Targeting interventions during those periods and prior to frequent smoking events would have the maximum impact on student smoking prevention.
"We know that college is a time where we see initiation of smoking.
"If you ask college students, many will tell you it's something they don't intend to do after they're out of school, but a significant number do continue smoking. What we know is there's no safe level of smoking and no way to know that once you start you'll be able to easily quit," she said.
Since the research shows that the majority of lifelong smokers begin smoking before the age of 24, targeting college student smokers with intervention and prevention efforts might help reduce those figures dramatically.
"In our study, smoking rates were higher at the start of the semester and on weekends," Cronk said.
"Targeting smoking prevention efforts immediately after students arrive on campus and throughout the semester in student email messages just prior to the weekend would be the most effective times to reach students," she added.
Partying, work, drinking, fraternity and sorority events, and vacation were among the top cues for recall of past smoking among students in social fraternities and sororities who participated in the study.
The study has been published in the journal Substance Use and Misuse.