Knowledge and Attitude Towards Tobacco Smoking among 13-15 Year-Old School Children in Viet Nam - Findings from GYTS 2014

Document Type: Research Articles

Authors

Hanoi School of Public Health, Hanoi, Vietnam

Abstract

Studies have shown that smoking is a learnt behavior, often initiated during adolescence. This paper aims
to describe tobacco-related knowledge, attitude and associations among school adolescents aged 13-15 with
exposure to anti-smoking information. Using data from the Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS) in Viet Nam,
2014, knowledge was measured through 4 questions about tobacco use, and attitude was assessed through 3
questions on personal, social and environmental aspects. Students giving most anti-tobacco responses to all
questions were considered as having correct knowledge or appropriate attitude or both. Access to anti-smoking
information was determined by exposure to any media messages on tobacco control during the past 30 days
and teaching in school about the danger of tobacco use during the past 12 months. A substantial percentage of
students thought that being near others who smoke might be harmful to them and smoking is harmful to health
(89.4% and 89.6% respectively). However, only 46.4% reported that it is definitely difficult to quit smoking and
66.9% thought that smoking for only 1 or 2 years, once stopped, is harmful to health. Slightly more than half of
the respondents reported appropriate attitude that young smokers have fewer friends than others and smoking
makes them less attractive and less comfortable at social events. Noticing anti-smoking messages in the media
together with having lessons in school about the dangers of tobacco substantially increased the likelihood of
having correct knowledge, appropriate attitude and both. Despite relatively high awareness about smoking harms,
effective educational communication is still highl