Do smoking and health education influence student nurses' knowledge, attitudes, and professional behavior?

Prev Med. 2002 Feb;34(2):260-5. doi: 10.1006/pmed.2001.0981.


Background: Student nurses are an important target group for smoking prevention. This study analyzes (a) the relation between student nurses' smoking behavior and their knowledge, attitudes, and behavior toward smoking prevention and (b) the effect of targeted health education in improving student nurses' knowledge, attitudes, and preventive behavior.

Methods: A controlled trial was performed with school classes as the randomization unit. One hundred fifty-five first-year students from a school in nursing in Copenhagen, Denmark, participated in a baseline study and a follow-up study 7 weeks later. The intervention included eight lectures on the health consequences of smoking.

Results: About 40% of student nurses in both the intervention and the control groups were smokers, and this percentage did not change during follow-up. Compared with nonsmokers, smokers had less favorable attitudes and behavior toward smoking prevention. Student nurses' knowledge about the health consequences of smoking improved during the study period in both groups, but the change was larger in the intervention group. This difference was not present in multivariate analyses that controlled for age and smoking status. During follow-up the attitude improved in the intervention classes, while it deteriorated in the controls, revealing a significant difference, which persisted after multivariate adjustment. The amount of education had no effect on student nurse's preventive behavior.

Conclusion: Targeted health education improves knowledge and attitudes toward smoking prevention in first-year student nurses.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • Health Education*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Prevalence
  • Program Evaluation
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Smoking / psychology*
  • Smoking Prevention
  • Students, Nursing / psychology*