Smoking Perception

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Original Research

The smoking habits, attitudes towards smoking and knowledge regarding anti-smoking legislation of students in institutions of higher learning in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa Awotedu AA, FMCP (Nig), FCCP, FCP (SA-PR), Department of Internal Medicine, Walter Sisulu University, Mthatha Jordaan ER, MSc, Biostatistics Unit, Medical Research Council of South Africa, Tygerberg Ndukwana OZB, BACur, BACurHons (UNISA), MPH, Department of Health Promotion, Walter Sisulu University, Mthatha Fipaza NO, BSc, MSc(Leeds), Department of Health Promotion, Walter Sisulu University, Mthatha Awotedu KO, BSc Hon, MBBS, FMCGP (Nig), Department of Physiology, Walter Sisulu University. Mthatha Martinez J, MD (Havana), Department of Community Medicine, Walter Sisulu University, Mthatha. Foyaca-Sibat H, MD (Havana), Department of Internal Medicine, Walter Sisulu University , Mthatha Mashiyi MK, MBChB; FCP (SA), Department of Internal Medicine, Walter Sisulu University , Mthatha Correspondence to: Professor AA Awotedu, e-mail: awotedu@worldonline.co.za

Abstract
Background The study aimed to i) investigate the smoking habits of students attending tertiary institutions of learning in the Eastern Cape Province (ECP) and ii) determine the knowledge of the students about the health hazards of smoking and their attitude towards current government anti-smoking legislation. Methods This was a questionnaire-based study involving all seven tertiary institutions of learning in the ECP, viz. the Universities of Transkei, Fort Hare, Port Elizabeth and Rhodes University, and the Border, Eastern Cape and Port Elizabeth technikons. A total of 1 728 students were interviewed out of a student population of 30,080. Stratified random sampling was used to select the students. Two-way tables were used to test the independence of the variables and chi-square tests were applied. A ‘p’ value of below 5% was used as a test of significance. Results A total of 1 480 students completed the questionnaires (86%). The racial classification of the respondents was 79% Black, 13% White, 7% Coloured and 2% Indian. Twenty-six per cent of the students were smokers, of which 37% were male and 15% were female. Forty-five per cent of the Coloured students smoked, while the figures for Whites and Blacks were 26% and 25% respectively. Seventy per cent of the students smoked less than 10 cigarettes a day. Fifty-two per cent of the smokers said they wanted to stop smoking. Sixty-one per cent had been influenced to start smoking by their friends and only 13% were influenced by advertisements. Ninety-four percent agreed that smoking was dangerous to the smoker’s health, while 73% responded that there was a relationship between mothers who smoke and low birth weight. Thirteen per cent thought the legislation was too tough, while 30% said it was good as it was. On measures to reduce smoking, 86% favoured restricting smoking in public places. Conclusion This study has demonstrated that smoking is prevalent in tertiary institutions of learning in the Eastern Cape Province. The demographic profile of the smokers reflects the national picture. The knowledge of the harmful effects of smoking is generally good. SA Fam Pract 2006;48(9):14 The full version of this article is available at: www.safpj.co.za 14

P This article has been peer reviewed
SA Fam Pract 2006:48(9)

Original Research

Introduction Smoking, a manmade epidemic, occurs all over the world and is accompanied by a host of diseases that threaten the health and shorten the life of the consumer.1 The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that, globally, 47% of men and 12% of women smoke, with about 4.9 million people dying each year as a consequence of smoking.2 This figure is expected to rise to 10 million deaths by 2030 if the present trend continues.2 Prevalence rates and trends vary from country to country, often dependent on the level of monitoring of tobacco use behaviour. While the rate of...
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