A comparison of smoking habits between medical and non-medical university students and effect of University related factors on their habits
OBJECTIVE: This study has determined the prevalence of tobacco smoking among medical and non-medical students along with the influence of university related factors on smoking habits.
METHODOLOGY: We surveyed 1487 students from 18 universities across Pakistan from September to December 2014. A self-administered questionnaire was filled out by the students. Chi square and binary logistic regression was used through SPSS 22.
RESULTS: Mean age of study population was 20.47 years. Overall prevalence of smoking was 21.5% with 13%, 28.5% and 30.6% among medical, engineering and social sciences students respectively. Among smoker group 69.9% started smoking between age brackets of 16-20. In all universities cigarette smoking was popular over shisha. There was an exponential rise in frequency of smokers as we examined successive academic years in non medical universities. (p<0.05) Allocation of specific place for smoking within campus, presence of shisha bar nearby, anti smoking literature on social media and health awareness seminars conducted by teachers has strong impact on smoking habits. (p<0.05)
CONCLUSION: All kind of smoking are more prevalent in non medical universities. There is strong relationship between university related factors and smoking prevalence. Smoking related health education must be a part of the academic curriculum in all types