Factors associated with smoking, quit attempts and attitudes towards total smoking bans at university: a survey of seven universities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland

Walid El Ansari, Christiane Stock
Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention: APJCP 2012, 13 (2): 705-14

OBJECTIVES: This study assessed the associations between socio-demographic, health and wellbeing variables (independent variables) and daily smoking, attempts to quit smoking, and agreement with smoking ban (dependent variables).

METHODS: Data from 3,706 undergraduate students were collected from seven universities in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland using a standardised questionnaire.

RESULTS: About 15.8% of the whole sample reported daily smoking, while 12% were occasional smokers. Smoking was significantly more prevalent among males, but the difference was due to a higher rate of occasional smokers. About every second smoker (55%) had attempted to quit smoking. Almost 45% of the whole sample agreed or strongly agreed with implementing a total smoking ban on campus. Daily smoking was more likely among students with not sufficient income, students whose fathers had at least a bachelor degree; and, students who reported binge drinking. Conversely, daily smoking was less likely among students who rated their health as very good/excellent, those who ate ≥5 portions of fruit or vegetables, and those who had never taken illicit drugs. Previous attempt/s to quit smoking were more likely among students who have never taken illicit drugs and those who agreed with a total smoking ban; and less likely among those with not sufficient income. Daily smokers were less likely to report quit attempts as compared to occasional smokers. An agreement with smoking ban was more likely among students who rated their health as very good/excellent, those who ate ≥5 portions of fruit or vegetables daily, and those who had never taken illicit drugs, but less likely among daily smokers.

CONCLUSION: Favourable health practices and positive attitudes towards smoking ban were associated with each other. Interventions would need to comprise multi-component programmes that do not solely focus on smoking prevention/cessation, but also on other health promoting practices as well.

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