Cigarette Smoking Amond College Students Essay, Research Paper
“Cigarette smoking has been described as the most important health risks in the United States” (medaccess). That is just one of the many reasons for me to research the topic of cigarette smoking. Smoking is prevalent among people of all ages in this country. However, I focused on the habits of college students only. The main objective of this research is to determine if smoking habits of parents of college students have any influence on the students’ decision to smoke or not smoke. There are many questions surrounding for what reasons people smoke. It was interesting to look into the motives for smoking behaviors, especially among my peers. Many people die every year in this country and around the world every year. Maybe after some people read this they will think twice before lighting up their next cigarette. After all, “cigarette smoking is the single most important cause of preventable death in the United States” (smoking). In doing my research, the first thing that must be done is to define “cigarette smoking” and what it actually means to be a “smoker.” There is no actual standard set for how much or how often a person smokes to stereotype them with the characteristic of a “smoker.” For my purposes and the purposes of this project I have set my own standards to clarify and make my research in general easier to understand. I have recently “quit” smoking and I still occasionally have a cigarette, but still do not consider myself a “smoker.” On the other hand, I do not believe someone should have to be a chain smoker to be considered a “smoker.” So, for research purposes, I chose an intermediate standard. A “smoker” will be someone who smokes cigarettes at least once a day, with going no longer than two days without having a cigarette. In my belief, smoking on a regular basis constitutes someone as a smoker, even if they smoke only one cigarette per day. In some peoples’ eyes, a person has to smoke a pack a day or more to be considered a smoker. I think this is inaccurate, and beside the fact of inaccuracy, if I characterized a smoker as someone who smokes a pack a day I probably would not have gotten any solid information. Information about cigarette smoking is very easily obtainable. However, in all the sources that I have looked into, I have only found one that discusses reasons for smoking being linked to parental smoking habits. The only piece of information I found was in the internet source Bad Effects of Cigarette Smoking on the Body! It states: “people with parents who smoke are more likely to begin smoking than those who have non-smoking parents” (bad effects). So that is with what I have to work. In a way I think this is good because if I was constantly reading about how this is true or not true, some bias may be involved in my research. As long as my research material has been documented in another source I think it will be easily researched. I plan to study behaviors of smokers based on that idea. So what I am left with is a virtually inexhaustible amount of facts associated with smoking cigarettes, some of which I will present. This will be to prove how dangerous cigarette smoking is and maybe to convince some parents that smoking around their children, no matter what their ages, may not be the best idea in the world. The next objective, then, is to provide information on the dangers and consequences of smoking. As most people probably know, cigarette smoking is extremely harmful to your health. In the United States each year “16% of all deaths can be attributed to smoking” and smoking cigarettes is also “the number one cause of death in men” (the facts). Also, “85% of lung cancer (now the leading cause of death among men and women) deaths could be avoided if the individual did not smoke” (Riche). Furthermore, “women who smoke are dying at twice the rate of women who do not smoke” (Riche). And finally, along with cancer, cigarette smoking also contributes to cardiovascular diseases and reproductive difficulties. From personal experiences, I have had family members die from smoking cigarettes, and many of my friends also smoke. That alone makes this project a small bit personal. As you can see by the facts listed above, smoking is extremely dangerous. I could go on and on with interesting and some rather astounding facts and numbers associated with this subject, but I believe the point is given. The question at hand still remains: why do people smoke? In doing “informal research” (talking to my friends more or less) I found many different and quite interesting answers. Some people do it to relax, some for the buzz it provides, some do it to occupy their hands, while most do it just because they are flat out addicted to nicotine. I do it simply for something to do. When I am drinking or driving on a long trip in the car or many other times. The most interesting answer I received, however, was, “I don’t know why, I just started one day and haven’t quit yet.” That answer alone makes me wonder if the parents of that person had anything to do with their decision to smoke. This leads me into my hypotheses. My first hypothesis is as follows: “A majority of college students who smoke cigarettes do so because their parents smoke or did smoke while they were being raised.” I searched for more of a correlation factor than a causation factor. This is because when doing the research, I looked at if the parents smoked while the child was at home and being raised. Proving a causation would be much too difficult because of all the other possible variables. My second hypothesis goes almost along the same lines as the first. It states: “A majority of college students choose not to smoke because their parents smoke or smoked while they were being raised.” I also looked for a correlation factor to accompany this hypothesis. I think the majority of people questioned in my survey will fit in to the two categories decribed in my hypothesis. As I mentioned before, I researched college students. Initially, I was going to research students from both Grand Valley State and Michigan State University. However, the Michigan State idea fell through when I was unable to make it down there. So actually I did not have a totally accurate portrayal of college students for two basic reasons. The first is the fact that I only surveyed people attending Grand Valley State University and the second is I only surveyed students coming out of the library and students walking through Kirkhof. I used a survey with fairly straight forward questions on it. The first question simply asks if the subject smokes, and if he or she does, it asks how often. This will tell me if I have a smoker or not based on my definition of a smoker. The second question is basically the same as the first except it asks the subject about his or her parents’ smoking behavior. This will tell me if I can consider the parents smokers for the study. Only one parent needs to have smoked. The third question asks if they believe their parents had an influence on them to smoke. The answer for it is simply a yes or no. The last question asks reasons for smoking. This does not tie directly to my hypothesis, but it may give me an idea of some other reasons for smoking to look out for. These questions are listed in the appendix. I collected a random sample by using systematic sampling. I stood outside the library and surveyed every fifth person who walked out the door. After about seven or eight people I decided to continue my research in the Kirkhof building due to the unbearable cold. I finished with a total of 34 subjects. Nineteen of which are smokers and 15 non-smokers. Eighteen students said their parents smoked while sixteen said their parents did not smoke. One person told me he did not know if his parents smoked because they quit and start quite often, but they did smoke while he was growing up. He was the only different answer, besides that everything went quite smoothly. The independent variable of the project is whether college student smoke or do not smoke. The dependent variable is whether their parents smoked and if it had any effect on their choice to smoke or not to smoke. My data is analyzed in a chi-square test listed in the Appendix. My null hypotheses for the chi-square test are as follows.