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Environ Health Prev Med. 2010 Mar;15(2):115-20. doi: 10.1007/s12199-009-0110-0. Epub 2009 Oct 3.

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

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1
Department of Public Health, Medical School, University of Patras, 26500, Rio Patras, Greece, ecalexop@upatras.gr.

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.

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