Some Holland College students challenge effectiveness of substance use survey

Published on March 9, 2017

Holland College students have been asked to participate in a confidential online survey on substance use.

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - Some students at Holland College are doubting the effectiveness of a recent gambling and substance use survey aimed at finding ways to help students quit.


Smoking is something that is really difficult to give up. Also, there are already so many products to help people quit, if they really wanted to, they probably would have or at least tried to. Lynn Matthews

Counsellors at the college recently invited students to participate in this confidential online survey. The information provided by students would be anonymous and confidential.

Counsellors hope the information would help them better understand the culture and the level of substance use and gambling among students to make decisions on educational and awareness activities.

But Lynn Matthews, a tourism and travel management student, who has been smoking for three years, doesn’t think the use of the information from the survey will help long-time smokers.

“Smoking is something that is really difficult to give up. Also, there are already so many products to help people quit. If they really wanted to, they probably would have or at least tried to.”

Matthews started smoking cigarettes at parties and social gatherings at 16 years old because her friends offered her cigarettes when they were smoking.

When she started college, the smoking escalated.

Now 19, she smokes about four times a day.

“I don't want to smoke forever because it is so unhealthy. Also, my mother would be extremely disappointed,” she said.

June Harper, a counsellor conducting the survey, says the survey may get students to reflect on their substance use.

“After completing the survey, a student may realize that they may have a problem and hopefully they will seek out counselling services or other supports to get help with their substance use or gambling.”

Matthews says there is another way to help people having problems with gambling or substance use.

“I don't have high hopes for the survey to help people quit, but I might encourage people not to start. ”