PURPOSE: Few data are published regarding smoking behavior of medical students. The aim of the present study was to investigate the prevalence of smoking among students of the first and last year in the Medical School of Aristotle University, Thessaloniki, along with the evolution of the habit over the years. Moreover the sociodemographic associations and characteristics were examined. The study was held during the academic year 2006–2007.
METHODS: ±147 students of the first year (FYS) (mean age 18.5 ± 0.6), 293 students of the last year (LYS) (mean age 23.7±1.5), and two groups of age- matched controls coming from general population, 65 (GP-1) (mean age 18.5 ± 0.6) and 193 (GP-2) (mean age 23.2±2) respectively, participated in the survey. The participants filled -in a questionnaire, including 65 questions, with the aid of especially educated students under the supervision of their Professor.
RESULTS: FYS reported 8.6% current smoking while LYS 27% and GP-1 30.4%. The prevalence of smoking in FYS was significantly lower than that of LYS (P<0.001) and GP-1 (p=0.002). Concerning GP-2 35% were classified as current smokers without however differing statistically from LYS, even though they reported significantly higher dependence on nicotine (p= 0.022). Furthermore non-smokers LYS consumed alcohol occasionally comparing to smokers LYS who consumed 3–4 days per week (p= 0.002). The smoking habit of LYS seemed to depend more frequently on parental smoking especially when both parents were current smokers. No sociodemographic association was reported among FYS, GP-1 and GP-2.
CONCLUSION: A reduced prevalence of smoking was observed among medical students compared to general population. A statistically significant low prevalence of smokers was observed in FYS compared to that of LYS.
CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: The three- fold increase of smokers among LYS was unexpected and practically unexplained. The factors responsible for this observation need further investigation.
DISCLOSURE: Dimitrios Gioulekas, No Financial Disclosure Information; No Product/Research Disclosure Information