Introduction: In Egypt, each faculty has it own students' union, which represents the students and collaborates in organizing all educational, sporting and social activities. The objectives of the current study were to evaluate the knowledge of members of students' unions about cigarette and Shisha smoking together with assessing their attitudes towards smoking in public places in general and in the university.
Methodology: A random sample of members of Ain Shams University Students' Unions was subjected to an interview questionnaire. All participants were individually interviewed face-to-face by a trained interviewer from March 1, 2005 to April 30, 2005.
Results: Our study showed that 34 (31.5%) students were smokers. The mean knowledge score percentage was 79.4 +/- 20.7. Regarding knowledge about Shisha smoking hazards, the majority of the students (84.3%) knew that Shisha smoking is hazardous. The mean attitude score percentage was 56.8 +/- 22.2. Smokers had less mean knowledge as regard smoking hazards compared to non-smokers (p < 0.01). Also, smokers had a lower mean attitude compared to non-smokers (p < 0.001). More than one-third (38.9%) of the interviewed students didn't know if the students' union has a policy for prevention of smoking or not.
Conclusion: Our findings point that although our students had a moderately high mean knowledge score yet this didn't increase their attitude about the smoking problem in the university and in the community. This supports the notion that, in addition to knowledge about smoking hazards, efforts are needed to change beliefs that allow this offensive habit to continue.