n Africa Journal of Nursing and Midwifery - Knowledge and practices of smoking among students in a South African University residence

Volume 8 Number 1
  • ISSN : 1682-5055


Worldwide, tobacco consumption constitutes a threat to the health of smokers as well as to non-smokers, among the youth in particular. This quantitative descriptive study investigated the extent of smoking among students in the University of Natal Durban (now University of KwaZulu-Natal campus residences and evaluated their knowledge of smoking habits.

A representative sample of 194 students was randomly drawn from a population of 1934 students who lived in University of Natal Durban campus residences for the year 2001. As many as 88.1% of the questionnaires distributed by the researcher were completely and returned.
The findings showed a proportion of 25.7% (44 students) smokers, among whom 56.7% were males and 43.3% were females. The harmful effect of tobacco was sufficiently known by the respondents (92.9%) but specific diseases caused by tobacco consumption were insufficiently known. Pleasure was the most frequent reason given for smoking by 59.6% of the respondents. Smokers' friends played a big role (40%) in smoking initiation. The age of starting to smoke was earlier (14-16 years) for males than the 17-19 years for females. A proportion of 33.9% of non-smokers lived with regular smokers that increased a number of the population at risk of diseases caused by smoking habits, including "passive smoking".

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