Smoking Prevalence, Behavior, and Associated Factors in Vocational School of Health Services Students

Nazan Akçalı, Ersin Nazlıcan, Muhsin Akbaba, Ramazan Azim Okyay
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Objective: We aimed to investigate the smoking prevalence and dependence levels as well as the associated factors in students at the Cukurova University Vocational School of Health Services (VSHS).
Material and Method: We conducted a descriptive and cross-sectional study. Our study included 412 of the 507 students attending a 2-year program at the Cukurova University VSHS during the 2012-2013 academic year. The study data were collected by Fagerström nicotine dependence test including a questionnaire of 30 questions about sociodemographic characteristics and nicotine dependence, between September 2012 and November 2012. The statistical analyses were carried out with SPSS 19.0 package program. Each p value <0.05 was recognized as statistically significant.
Results: Among the participants, 27.4% were current smokers. Male students exhibited higher smoking rates than males (χ²=33.755 sd=1 p<0.001). The smoking rate was observed to rise with increasing age (χ²=13.891, sd=2, p=0.001). Close friends of smoker students were also smokers (Χ2=69.754, p<0.001). According to the Fagerström test, 86 (76.1%) students showed mild level of nicotine dependence, whereas 27 (23.9%) exhibited moderate or severe level of nicotine dependence. Male participants demonstrated higher levels of nicotine dependence as compared to the females (χ2=4.586, sd=1, p=0.032). The level of dependence was lower in students acknowledging the harmful effects of smoking to health as compared to those regarding smoking as not harmful (χ2=7.865, sd=1, p=0.005).
Conclusion: Although young people are aware of the harmful effects of smoking, they continue to start and use smoking. The most influential factors associated with smoking are male gender and peer influence.

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(With scientific support of Bozok University)