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


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 ageneral health questionnaire.
Results: Overall daily or occasional smoking in last three months prior to the surveywas 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 amother who completed at least bachelor’s degree education was positively associated with daily smoking, andconversely, no history of illicit drug use was a protective factor. About 76% of smokers had attempted to quitsmoking within the last 12 months prior to the survey. Although a large proportion of students agreed/ stronglyagreed with the banning of smoking at university altogether (87%), such agreement was less likely amongsmokers.
Conclusion: There is need for implementation of non-smoking policies on university premises, as wellas regular up-to-date information on, and the periodic/yearly monitoring of tobacco use by university studentsemploying standardised data collection instruments and reference periods. In addition, it would be valuable todevelop campus-based educational/ awareness campaigns designed to counteract tobacco advertisement directedtowards young people in Middle East countries. Otherwise, the danger could be that the current relatively lowsmoking prevalence among university students may escalate in the future.