Smokers and Marriage: Attitude of Youth in the United Arab Emirates


Introduction: In order to control the tobacco scourge, an array of measures is required. Among them is focusing on adolescent relationships as it has been shown that being in a close relationship with a smoker or a non smoker will in the long run be a major factor in deciding whether the individual adopts smoking for initial non-smokers or ceases the habit for initial smokers.
Objectives: To assess the attitude of youth towards other smokers and towards marrying a smoker. Materials and
Methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out among 415 students from five universities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Self-administered structured questionnaires were used for data collection. The Chi square test was used to detect significant differences between frequencies.
Results: Of the 415 participants who provided their gender information, 99 (24%) were males and 314 (76%) were females. Of all the participants, 83.5% were not willing to marry smokers, while 16.5% were willing. Of those whose parents smoked (106) 68% did not like it when their parents smoked, 13.6% had no opinion, 17.5% did not mind, while the other 1% had other thoughts. Of those whose close friends smoked, 43.4% did not like it, 16.2% did not have any opinion, 36.9% did not mind while 3.5% had other thoughts.
Conclusion: Most participants, both males and females are not willing to marry smokers and prefer to have non-smokers as spouses. Also, smokers are seen as less attractive by both genders in contrast to what appears as popular beliefs amongst youngsters and what is depicted in tobacco advertisements. Tobacco control activities can be undertaken in the community and colleges by incorporating students as facilitators.