Correlates of Smoking, Quit Attempts and Attitudes towards Total Smoking Bans at University: Findings from Eleven Faculties in Egypt

  • Ansari, Walid El (Faculty of Applied Sciences, University of Gloucestershire) ;
  • Labeeb, Shokria (Faculty of Nursing, Assiut University) ;
  • Kotb, Safaa (Faculty of Nursing, Assiut University) ;
  • Yousafzai, Mohammad T. (Department of Epidemiology and Medical Statistics, Hamad Medical Corporation) ;
  • El-Houfey, Amira (Faculty of Nursing, Assiut University) ;
  • Stock, Christiane (Unit for Health Promotion Research, Institute of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark)
  • Published : 2012.06.30


Objectives: Smoking among university students represents a formidable and global public health challenge. We assessed the associations between socio-demographic, health and wellbeing variables as independent variables, with daily smoking, attempts to quit smoking, and agreement with smoking ban as dependent variables. Methods: A sample of 3258 undergraduate students from eleven faculties at Assiut University, Assiut, Egypt, completed a general health questionnaire. Results: Overall daily or occasional smoking in last three months prior to the survey was about 9% (8% occasional and 1% daily smokers), and smoking was generally more prevalent among males (male=17%, female=0.6%, P < 0.001). After adjustment for confounders, not having normal BMI and having a mother who completed at least bachelor's degree education was positively associated with daily smoking, and conversely, no history of illicit drug use was a protective factor. About 76% of smokers had attempted to quit smoking within the last 12 months prior to the survey. Although a large proportion of students agreed/strongly agreed with the banning of smoking at university altogether (87%), such agreement was less likely among smokers. Conclusion: There is need for implementation of non-smoking policies on university premises, as well as regular up-to-date information on, and the periodic/yearly monitoring of tobacco use by university students employing standardised data collection instruments and reference periods. In addition, it would be valuable to develop campus-based educational/ awareness campaigns designed to counteract tobacco advertisement directed towards young people in Middle East countries. Otherwise, the danger could be that the current relatively low smoking prevalence among university students may escalate in the future.


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