Aim: To assess the prevalence of smoking and sociodemographic factors related to smoking behavior of first year university students in Adana, Turkey.
Methods: The sample was selected from two faculties (Faculty of Engineering and Architecture and Faculty of Agriculture) using the method of simple cluster sampling, representing the university student population. The students filled out an anonymous questionnaire comprising 17 questions related to their sociodemographic characteristics and smoking behavior. The response rate was 73.5% (471 out of 640 students).
Results: The prevalence of daily smoking among the first year students was 21.4%, with the predominance of men (25.0%) over women (12.9%). Most students (89.1%) had positive expectations about quitting smoking in the next 5 years ("I will quit smoking", "I will decrease the number of cigarettes I smoke", and "I will continue to be a non-smoker"). The smoking behavior was significantly related to student's sex (p=0.026, Pearson's chi-square test), mother's education (p=0.029, Pearson's chi-square test), number of failed grades (p=0.011, ANOVA), student's monthly income (p<0.001, Pearson's chi-square test), and having friends who smoke (p<0.0001, Pearson's chi-square test).
Conclusion: The main determinants of regular smoking behavior for university students in Turkey were male sex, low academic performance, having smoking friends, high level of income, and a mother with high education level. These findings call for making anti smoking policies more specific in regard to the targeted population.