Smoking practices of dental and oral health students at the University of the Western Cape

SADJ. 2010 Aug;65(7):304-8.


Introduction: The World Health Organisation code of practice on tobacco control urges health care professionals to lead by example by reducing smoking among them, act as role models for their patients and introduce tobacco control in the public health agenda of their country.

Aims: Describe dental and oral health student smoking practices, risk perception and the association between smoking status and providing smoking related advice to patients.

Method: A descriptive, cross sectional study of dental and oral health students using a self-administered questionnaire.

Results: The response rate was 62% (N = 375). Smoking status indicated that 15% were past smokers and 23% were current smokers (33.8% Male vs 17.6% Female: p < 0.001). The mean age of smoking initiation was 16 years (SD = 2.932). Students smoked because of "addiction", "stress", "habit'; "enjoyment", and "to socialise". Only 22% of current smokers felt able to stop smoking. There were no significant differences between smokers and non-smokers in their perceived knowledge, confidence and skill to provide smoking related advice to patients.

Conclusion: The increasing prevalence of smoking among females observed globally is also evident in this population. Student smoking status does not influence practices in providing smoking related advice to their patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Smoking Cessation
  • South Africa
  • Students, Dental / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult