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Smoking behavior among 14-17 year old students: a comparison between Pakistan and the UK.

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Springfield University Hospital, London, United Kingdom.


Smoking is a major public problem concern the world over. It is one of the major preventable causes of premature death and disease in the world. Fourteen to seventeen year olds are among a vulnerable group of individuals in society and susceptible to cigarette smoking. Older students act as role models to younger pupils and could influence smoking behavior. In a cross-sectional study we compared the differences in smoking between high school students in Pakistan and the United Kingdom. A self-administered anonymous questionnaire, adapted from a WHO questionnaire about tobacco smoking, was distributed to the students. In the UK, 235 participants were recruited; 16% (n = 38) were regular smokers. In Pakistan, 350 participants were recruited; 17% (n = 58) were regular smokers. In both countries males were significantly more likely to smoke. Reasons for smoking varied between the UK and Pakistan. In the UK, the majority smoked for recreational or social purposes and in Pakistan peer pressure played the major role. Beliefs regarding smoking were similar between the two countries. The lifetime prevalence of smoking was higher in the UK, but more students in Pakistan smoked daily. There were important differences in the smoking patterns between the two countries, which have potential public health implications.

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