Determinants of smoking among governmental secondary school children in middle zone, Gaza
Hazem Abed Elhakim Abu Malouh
حازم عبد الحكيم سلمان ابو ملوح
Smoking is widely associated with serious diseases such as cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases and frequently causes death in developed and developing countries. Universally, about 90% of smokers start smoking before they reach the age of 20 years. The purpose of this study was to estimate the prevalence and the key determinants of smoking among secondary school students in the Middle Governorate in Gaza. Using descriptive analytic - based design, the study was carried out in randomly selected 4 secondary schools in the targeted governorate in the scholastic year 2008-2009. Four hundred students were randomly selected from the targeted schools. An anonymous selfadministered questionnaire was completed by subjects. The study revealed that 24.5% of the students surveyed are currently smoking. Among those who were smoking, 44% were smoking both cigarettes and Narjila, while 31% were smoking cigarettes only and 25.5% were smoking Narjila only. Moreover, the study revealed that 69.4% of the smoking students were studying at the Art's Department, while 30.6% of the smoking students were studying at the Science Department. Additionally, 65.3% of the smoking students were at grade 11 and 34.7% at grade 12. Currently, the mean number of cigarettes smoked per day is 7 cigarettes. Subjects indicated that their parental smoking or being close to a smoker were the main drives for them to start smoking. Among smoking students, 38.2% indicated that they were affected by their parental smoking. Also, 39% of the subjects reported that being close to a smoker encourages and motivates to be a smoker or to initiate smoking. The study revealed that 62.2% of the smokers in this study tried to quit smoking during the last years. Of the total study population, 59.5% reported that cigarette advertisements do not affect them or encourage them to start smoking. In contrary, 36.3% of the study populations don t know if cigarettes advertisements influence the decision to smoke or not. Additionally, the study found that 67.3% of the study population did not receive awareness sessions about the damages caused by smoking. There were significant relationships between knowledge about smoking hazards and continuing smoking among students (P value 0.051). Similarly, students' attitudes about smoking have significantly affected their tendency to smoke (P value 0.001). The study recommended that measures are needed to carryout awareness sessions at schools about the hazards of smoking. Special smoking quitting programs are needed particularly programs targeting youth and students.