Smoking and Drinking

Learning Objectives

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Describe the steps for quitting smoking.
  • Describe the risks associated with drinking.
  • Know where to turn for help.

Smoking and Tobacco

Everyone knows smoking is harmful to one’s health. Smoking causes cancer and lung and heart disease. Most adult smokers continue smoking not because they really think it won’t harm them but because it’s very difficult to stop. Nicotine is one of the most addictive drugs in our society today.

First, the good news. Stopping smoking brings immediate health benefits, and the benefits get better over time. Just twenty minutes after quitting, your heart rate drops. After two weeks to three months, your heart attack risk begins to drop and your lung function begins to improve. After one year, your added risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker’s. And every year your health continues to improve.

Tips for Stopping Smoking

Stopping isn’t easy. Many ex-smokers say it was the hardest thing they ever did. Still, over 45 million adults in the United States once smoked and then successfully stopped.

There’s lots of help available. Before you quit, the National Cancer Institute suggests you START with these five important steps:

hands breaking cigaretteS = Set a quit date.

T = Tell family, friends, and coworkers that you plan to quit.

A = Anticipate and plan for the challenges you’ll face while quitting.

R = Remove cigarettes and other tobacco products from your home, car, and work.

T = Talk to your doctor about getting help to quit.

To get ready, download the booklet “Clearing the Air: Quit Smoking Today” at

Monroe Community College is a smoke-free campus, and help for quitting is available.  Health Services can provide more information about Tobacco Free MCC as well as additional resources for quitting.

Drinking and Alcohol

Of all the issues that can affect a student’s health and success in college, drinking causes more problems than anything else. Most college students report drinking at least some alcohol at some time. Here are a few facts about alcohol use among college students from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism:

  • Death Each year, 1,700 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die from alcohol-related unintentional injuries, and 599,000 students are injured.
  • Assault More than 696,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are assaulted by another student who has been drinking.
  • Sexual abuse More than 97,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape.
  • Academic problems About 25 percent of college students report academic consequences of their drinking, including missing class, falling behind, doing poorly on exams or papers, and receiving lower grades overall.
  • Health problems More than 150,000 students develop an alcohol-related health problem.
  • Alcohol abuse and dependence In the past twelve months, 31 percent of college students met criteria for a diagnosis of alcohol abuse and 6 percent for a diagnosis of alcohol dependence. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, “A Snapshot of Annual High-Risk College Drinking Consequences,” College Drinking—Changing the Culture, (accessed July 13, 2010).

If you feel your alcohol use is negatively affecting your life, seek help from your health care provider or counselor.

Resources for Help

If you have questions or concerns related to drug use, your doctor or Health Services can help. Check these websites for additional information: