Experimentation with and knowledge regarding water-pipe tobacco smoking among medical students at a major university in Brazil

J Bras Pneumol. Mar-Apr 2014;40(2):102-10. doi: 10.1590/s1806-37132014000200002.
[Article in English, Portuguese]

Abstract

Objective: Water-pipe tobacco smoking is becoming increasingly more common among young people. The objective of this study was to estimate the prevalence of the use of water pipes and other forms of tobacco use, including cigarette smoking, among medical students, as well as to examine the attitudes, beliefs, and knowledge of those students regarding this issue.

Methods: We administered a questionnaire to students enrolled in the University of São Paulo School of Medicine, in São Paulo, Brazil. The respondents were evaluated in their third and sixth years of medical school, between 2008 and 2013. Comparisons were drawn between the two years.

Results: We evaluated 586 completed questionnaires. Overall, the prevalence of current cigarette smokers was low, with a decline among males (9.78% vs. 5.26%) and an increase among females (1.43% vs. 2.65%) in the 3rd and 6th year, respectively. All respondents believed that health professionals should advise patients to quit smoking. However, few of the medical students who smoked received physician advice to quit. Experimentation with other forms of tobacco use was more common among males (p<0.0001). Despite their knowledge of its harmful effects, students experimented with water-pipe tobacco smoking in high proportions (47.32% and 46.75% of the third- and sixth-year students, respectively).

Conclusions: The prevalence of experimentation with water-pipe tobacco smoking and other forms of tobacco use is high among aspiring physicians. Our findings highlight the need for better preventive education programs at medical schools, not only to protect the health of aspiring physicians but also to help them meet the challenge posed by this new epidemic.

OBJETIVO:: O fumo de narguilé com tabaco está aumentando entre os jovens. O objetivo deste trabalho foi estimar a prevalência do uso de narguilé e outras formas de consumo de tabaco, incluindo o fumo de cigarros, entre estudantes de medicina, assim como as atitudes, crenças e conhecimento desses alunos sobre esse assunto.

MÉTODOS:: Um questionário foi aplicado aos estudantes da Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de São Paulo. Os entrevistados eram alunos de terceiro e sexto anos entre 2008 e 2013. As respostas foram comparadas entre os dois anos de graduação.

RESULTADOS:: 586 estudantes responderam ao questionário. A prevalência de fumantes foi baixa, com um declínio entre os homens (9,78% contra 5,26%) e um aumento no sexo feminino (1,43% contra 2,65%) no 3º e 6º ano, respectivamente. Todos os entrevistados acreditavam que profissionais de saúde devem aconselhar os pacientes a parar de fumar. No entanto, a maioria dos estudantes de medicina fumantes não recebeu aconselhamento médico para deixar de fumar. A experimentação de outros produtos derivados do tabaco foi maior entre os homens (p < 0.0001). Apesar do conhecimento de seus efeitos nocivos à saúde, a experimentação de narguilé foi alta (47,32% e 46,75% entre alunos do terceiro e sexto anos, respectivamente.

CONCLUSÕES:: A prevalência da experimentação de narguilé com tabaco e de outras formas de uso de tabaco é alta entre os futuros médicos. Nossos achados enfatizam a necessidade de melhores programas de educação preventiva em universidades médicas para proteger a saúde dos futuros médicos e para ajudá-los a enfrentar esse novo desafio epidêmico.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Brazil / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Sex Factors
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Smoking Prevention*
  • Students, Medical / statistics & numerical data*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tobacco Products / classification
  • Universities
  • Young Adult