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Free Content Cigarettes and waterpipe smoking among medical students in Syria: a cross-sectional study

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OBJECTIVES: To investigate tobacco use, beliefs and attitudes among medical students in Syria.

METHODS: A cross-sectional study of a random sample of 570 medical students (first and fifth year) registered at the Damascus University Faculty of Medicine in 2006–2007. We used a self-administered questionnaire for demo-graphic information, smoking behaviour (cigarette, waterpipe), family and peer smoking, attitudes and beliefs about smoking and future role in advising patients to quit smoking.

RESULTS: The overall prevalence of tobacco use was 10.9% for cigarettes (15.8% men, 3.3% women), 23.5% for waterpipe (30.3% men, 13.4% women) and 7.3% for both (10.1% men, 3.1% women). Both smoking methods were more popular among the fifth year students (15.4% and 27%) compared to their younger counterparts (6.6% and 19.7%). Regular smoking patterns predominated for cigarettes (62%), while occasional use patterns predominated for waterpipes (83%). More than two thirds of students (69%) thought they might not address or would have difficulty addressing smoking in their future patients.

CONCLUSION: The level of tobacco use among Syrian medical students is alarming and highlights the rapidly changing patterns of waterpipe use, especially among female students. Medical schools should work harder to tackle this phenomenon and address it more efficiently in their curricula.
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Keywords: Syria; cigarette smoking; medical students; prevalence; waterpipe smoking

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Department of Family & Community Medicine, Damascus University, Damascus, Syria 2: Syrian Centre for Tobacco Studies, Aleppo, Syria; and Department of Health & Sports Sciences, Memphis University, Memphis, Tennessee, USA

Publication date: 2008-09-01

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  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on tuberculosis and lung health world-wide.

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