Fighting Against Cigarette Smoking Among Medical Students: A Success Story
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- İçli, F., Çalışkan, D., Gönüllü, U. et al. J Canc Educ (2014) 29: 458. doi:10.1007/s13187-013-0573-y
A survey in the year 2007 among medical students of Ankara University Medical School to assess the smoking rates showed that 25.1 % of them were smoking. Moreover, the smoking rate was 35 % at sixth grade students and 60 % of the smokers specified that they started smoking at medical school. This report provides a successful approach to decrease smoking among medical students by measures against starting smoking. An “Antismoking Group” composed of voluntary academic staff, nurses, students, psychologists, and a social worker of the medical school was established to engage in lowering the smoking rate and eliminating it eventually among our students. Several methods including regular monthly meetings, annual “Smoking or Health” symposiums, and lectures to first, second, and third grade students to increase their awareness related to harms of smoking and their role in the fight against smoking were carried out. Our surveys in the years 2009 (641 students) and 2012 (975 students) showed that total smoking rates dropped to 15.0 and 11.0 %, respectively (p < 0.0002). Moreover, the smoking rate for the sixth grade students dropped from 35.0 % in 2007 to 21.8 and 8.8 % in the years 2009 and 2012, respectively (p < 0.0002). In 2012, the smoking rates of first year and sixth year students were 7.8 and 9.0 %, respectively. These close rates of smoking at the first and last years of medical school training and the significant drop in smoking rates in 5 years confirm that our group pursued a realistic and successful strategy against smoking.