Vancouver is now the third city in Canada to ban the use of e-cigarettes in public spaces due to their lack of regulation and research. Though it’s hard to believe that e-cigarettes could be stuffed with more harmful chemicals and carcinogens than a regular cigarette, like anything else that’s new, there’s policy and study hoops to jump through before they’re considered safe for the market.

Personally, I think using e-cigarettes as a tool for quitting smoking is brilliant. For long-term use, only time and analysis will answer questions regarding their safety. In this day and age, we all know how bad smoking is for your health; it can cause several cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and halitosis (fancy word for “bad breath”). As a result of public education, the number of smokers has dropped significantly in the past decade.  

Still, plenty of people smoke every day, including young people at Canadian colleges and universities. Even with information about the dangers of cigarettes and support readily available for aspiring quitters, students pick up smoking and continue the habit. Yet regulations are becoming increasingly tight­—maybe in the next few years, VIU students will have to leave campus to smoke.

Four weeks into classes, I think most students realize that maintaining your health is hard enough as it is without cigarettes stealing all your nutrients.

But let’s face it, there’s more than just the nicotine that keeps us hooked. Here are five common smoking scenarios that contribute to troubles butting-out.

 “I smoke with my Friends”

Smoking can be a social activity. Other than lunch, it’s the only other break time that forces you to go outside and away from all the stimuli you’re exposed to throughout the day. At school or work, smoking places you in a situation with others where conversation often arises and, as friendships are often formed as a result of common interests, smoking is no exception.

Outside work and school, smokers are apt to spend time with friends that smoke. This may be because there is a certain level of intimacy involved in sharing a habit that’s bad for you.

When a smoker makes the decision to quit, he or she may also be breaking off relationships with others.

“I smoke when I drink

We’ve all heard people say it. 

“I only smoke when I drink,” or “I always chain-smoke when I drink.”

What is it about alcohol that makes non-smokers become smokers and smokers become chain-smokers?

Again, this is likely because of the social aspect—or maybe it’s the perfect excuse to get some air, away from an overcrowded and overheated dance club? Or maybe it’s the perfect excuse to talk with women or men. “Can I borrow a light?” can be a solid conversation opener.

“I smoke while Outdoors”

Because all institutions and public places are now smoke-free, smokers have become accustomed to seizing the opportunity to light up whenever outdoors. Whether it’s waiting for the bus or taking your dog for a walk, smokers are used to keeping their hands busy with a cigarette. They don’t make fingerless mitts for nothing, right?

“I smoke on my Coffee Break”

On break at work or school, those 10 minutes provide us just enough time to run for a coffee and go outside for a cigarette. In the past, coffee and cigarettes came hand-in-hand. The relationship has started to fade since cafes have become smoke-free, but it’s good to be conscious of the affiliation.

“I smoke to relieve Stress”

Stress relief is probably the top reason smokers give for their habit. Stress is caused by all sorts of things, including busy schedules, work, school, or family and personal lives. Many people feel like they wouldn’t be able to cope with their hectic lives if they couldn’t smoke.

Smoking has a physical effect on your body chemistry that provides short-lived pleasure, but even though it may momentarily alleviate the anxiety of life, it has long-term effects on your health that will eventually put a whole lot more stress on you.


The above situations that are commonly affiliated with smoking aren’t reasons for you to continue the habit. They are still excuses. But if you’re trying to quit, the trick is to be aware of what you associate smoking with because that’s when you’ll be able to catch yourself before—out of habit—you slip up and light up.

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