Wednesday, June 6, 2007

The Twentysomething Paradox

As a 22 year old recent college grad, I hear the same line over and over from my peers: "I only smoke when I drink." This phrase is so common, Joe Nichols even wrote a country song with this very line as its title (don't ask me how I know that). I guess one logical question would be, "well, how often do you drink?" but even that question aside, what is the deal with people my age thinking that smoking solely on the weekends isn't harmful?

This said, I found an article on the web today about this very issue. The author, Emily Meehan, titled her article "The Twentysomething Paradox," claiming many young adults smoke on a regular basis (or whenever they are out drinking or partying), yet consider themselves non-smokers.

Unfortunately, what these folks don't realize is that even infrequent smoking, whether it be heavily just on the weekends or one cigarette per day, still increases one's risk for heart or lung disease. I suggest you click on the link and read the article for more facts and statistics on the harmful effects of intermittent smoking.

The good news is smoke-free air laws can reduce this odd paradox. In fact, I can think of numerous friends of mine that have quit smoking altogether since Madison enacted its 100% smoke-free air law. One, with bars being smoke-free, my friends aren't surrounded by smoke. Therefore they don't crave a cigarette, nor do they feel it would be socially desirable to smoke in general. Also, many do not think its worth having that casual cigarette if it means going outside and leaving the good times inside (especially when going outside in January means battling sub-zero temperatures!).

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