, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 115-120

Cigarette smoking among university students in Greece: a comparison between medical and other students

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Abstract

Objectives

The purpose of the study was to investigate the smoking habits of medical and other students and to explore the most important factors associated with students’ smoking.

Methods

University students were surveyed in late spring 2006 regarding their smoking status and additional health- and behavior-related characteristics.

Results

A total of 1205 (269 medical and 936 nonmedical) students participated in the study. Of these 47% reported being current smokers (35% among medical students), and 30% of the smokers had already started smoking at the age of 16 years. Smokers reported a significantly higher prevalence of cough and respiratory infections and a decrease in physical fitness. The most important factor associated with smoking prevalence was friendship with smokers and maternal smoking. A better knowledge of harmful effects showed a strong association with nonsmokers. Although nonmedical students exhibited a greater possibility to be a smoker, awareness of harmful effects among medical students was not as significant as factor against smoking compared with among nonmedical students.

Conclusions

This study shows that smoking prevalence among medical and other students in Greece is extremely high. A lack of effective education against smoking in medical students was evident and this underlines the need to identify the factors to be included in planning effective antismoking programs.

E. C. Alexopoulos and E. Jelastopulu contributed equally and share first authorship.