Stop saying you’re just a ‘social smoker’

You’re not fooling anyone.

If you only have a few a week, is it really smoking?

You’ve seen them lurking in Club smoking areas, gardens outside house parties, and even the rare encounter on the street – “social smokers”. They cast their drunken eyes lovingly on your 20 pack and beg you for a precious cancer stick.

In between puffs of smoke they splutter how they’re “actually just a social smoker mate” and that they “only do this while drunk.” You swear you saw them smoking one yesterday outside of your lecture…


Speaking from experience, people who say they’re just ‘social smokers’ are either covering up their addiction or just trying to scrounge off others.

It’s like saying you’re a ‘social drinker’ because you only drink a few times a week. But would you ask someone for a free drink?

Why do so many students still not buy their own cigarettes? Because that would imply they’re committed, that they’re actually smokers, and not someone who just ‘has a few’ in the evening every other day. This might be because you think it’s healthier, that all those horrible stories you’ve been told by our science teachers and PSHE tutors won’t apply to you just because you don’t buy your own.

If anything, the science proves that being a ‘social smoker’ is almost as bad for you as 20+ a day. Many of us would find it hard not to smoke for more than a week. All those house parties with a smoking area will draw you outside and, if you ask nicely, you can get a cig off someone.

And you will. You’re just as addicted as everyone else.

Stop living in denial and trying to act morally superior to your proudly (or not) addicted brethren. Nobody in the drunken miasma of the club smoking area is here to judge you on your health choices.

Guilty, again

A researcher from Rhode Island offers her perspective on ‘social smoking’:

“We certainly know the health risks associated with smoking. At this point we have not determined a safe amount of smoking. Research also suggests that particularly with adolescents, they often are kind of lulled into this sense they can smoke a little in social situations and then can quit when they go to college or get a job. And we don’t actually see that happening that much. Overall, these smokers end up smoking for many, many more years than they intended to.”

In short, anyone who ‘socially smokes’ is denying they have a problem. You say you only smoke when you go out – but you go out a lot. Before you know it, you can’t go out without having at least one.

That’s when you realize you were always a smoker, not just a ‘social smoker’.