TOBACCO USE AWARENESS AND PERCEPTION AMONG MEDICAL STUDENTS IN THE NIGER DELTA UNIVERSITY, BAYELSA STATE, NIGERIA
*Eniojukan Joshua F. and Owonaro Peter A
Tobacco is a chemical substance, which when consumed in excessive amount has the ability to alter the physical, psychological and behavioral characteristics of the individual. This was a descriptive cross-sectional study evaluating the prevalence, pattern and perception of tobacco use among medical students of the Niger Delta University, Bayelsa State, Nigeria. Questionnaires were administered randomly to 140 consenting medical students, after carefully explaining the objectives of the study. Data was analyzed with SPSS Version 20. Majority (72.8%) of the respondents were aged 16 â€“ 25 years, predominantly male (53.6%) and Christian (97.1%) by religion. The smoking prevalence was 32.3%; there were more male (27.7%) than female (4.6%) smokers; 68% was initiated at age 10 â€“ 19 years; about half the ever smoked had quitted smoking at study time. Most quitters did so after realizing the deleterious effects of smoking on health; some did so following counseling. Majority (44%) smoked 1-5 sticks per day; the awareness level of World No Tobacco Day and Nigeria Tobacco Control Decree were 17.3% and 3.6% respectively. The general level of perception towards tobacco use and practice was 83% high; 42% were of the opinion that the label â€œsmokers are liable to die youngâ€ has not served as deterrent to smokers; 95.7% opined that it is part of their duty as future health care providers to be involved in smoking cessation program of helping smokers to quit Enforcement of anti-smoking campaigns among the students and the addition of it to their curriculum is urgently needed.
Keywords: Smoking, Undergraduates, Prevalence, Adolescents, Bayelsa, Nigeria.
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