Smoking and drug-abuse among the newly admitted students of medical colleges in West Bengal

Indian J Public Health. Jan-Mar 1981;25(1):30-5.


PIP: Information on the smoking and drug use habits of all 705 students who were accepted by the 8 medical schools in West Bengal, India, in 1979 was obtained from the students when they presented for their required preadmission physical exams between October and December, 1979. The students were assured of the confidentiality of their responses. 90.1% of the students (557 males and 148 females) were between 17-20 years of age. Among the males, 14.4% tried smoking 1 or a few cigarettes in the past. Only 3.2% of the males were current smokers. None of the current smokers smoked more than 10 cigarettes a day, and 72.2% smoked 5 or fewer cigarettes/day. 4 (0.7%) of the males currently used habit forming drugs at least once a week. 3 used alcohol and 1 used cannabis. 8 (1.4%) had infrequently used drugs in the past. None of the females reported current or past use of cigarettes or habit forming drugs. Students from urban areas were significantly more likely to smoke or use drugs than students from rural areas. Prevalence rates for smoking and drug use were higher among students from families with incomes of Rs.2000 or more than among students from families with lower incomes. The educational status of fathers was not related to the smoking and drug use habits of the students. The study confirmed that very few entering students are habituated to drugs or cigarettes. These findings agree with those of an earlier study of medical students in Calcutta which found that drug use increased as time spent in medical school increased. Seniors were more likely to use drugs than juniors.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • India
  • Male
  • Smoking*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Students, Medical / psychology*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology*