Annals of Thoracic Medicine Official publication of the Saudi Thoracic Society, affiliated to King Saud University
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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 183-190

Smoking among Lebanese medical students: Prevalence and attitudes

Department of Internal Medicine, American University of Beirut Medical Center, Beirut, Lebanon

Correspondence Address:
Arafat Tfayli
American University of Beirut Medical Center, P.O. Box: 11-0236, Riad El Solh, Beirut 1107 2020
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1817-1737.185757

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Introduction: The tobacco epidemic is a major public health threat facing the world. Tobacco dependence is recognized as the greatest preventable cause of disease and death. Medical students are in key position influencing future tobacco cessation programs. Objectives: The primary objective of this study is to evaluate the prevalence of smoking among medical students across Lebanon and their smoking attitudes. It also investigates their attitude toward smoking, showing where they really stand on this major public health issue. This study helps better tackle anti-smoking campaigns among both physicians and patients. Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted by sending a questionnaire to currently enrolled medical students at all seven medical schools in Lebanon. The 32-item questionnaire was used, comprised three sections assessing sociodemographic characteristics, smoking habits, and attitudes toward smoking among Lebanese medical students. The questionnaire was launched online on Limesurvey to retain anonymity. The data were then transferred to Statistical Package for Social Sciences for analysis. Data were expressed as percentages for discrete variables and as mean ± standard deviation for continuous variables. Results: One hundred sixty-three complete responses remained of the 182 obtained responses. Forty-two of the total 163 students identified themselves as either daily or occasional smokers yielding a prevalence of 25.8%. Smokers were less likely to ask patients about their smoking habit and to counsel them about smoking cessation. Almost one-third of smokers felt that they had no obligations toward the society. Conclusion: Approximately 1 in 4 Lebanese medical students is a smoker. Students who smoke are less likely to ask patients about their smoking habits and to counsel them on smoking cessation. This is a major drawback in the fight against tobacco. This calls for better education of our future doctors on smoking cessation to decrease the smoking burden on our Lebanese society and worldwide.

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