This study was conducted to determine the prevalence of smoking, knowledge about the ill effects of smoking on health, and the influence of family members’ smoking habits among Saudi female students.
This is a type of cross-sectional study. A sample of 1,070 female students was selected by a nonrandom and convenient sampling method from five colleges (Medicine, Business and Administration, Computer Sciences, Education, and Languages and Translation) of King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. A self-administrated questionnaire was used to determine the personal, social, and educational characteristics of the respondents. In addition, questions about their smoking types, status, duration of smoking, knowledge about the ill effects of smoking, daily cigarette consumption, and reasons for quitting smoking were included.
The students’ response rate was 85%. The prevalence of current smoking was 4.3% and 5.6% for cigarettes and water-pipes, respectively, whereas 3.9% of the participants were ex-smokers. The prevalence of current smoking was highest in the College of Business and Administration (10.81%) and lowest in the College of Medicine (0.86%). The majority (77%) of the smokers’ parents (current and ex-smokers) were also smokers. More than half (54%) of the smokers started their smoking habit for entertainment, and 44.4% of the participants did not know that smoking causes serious health problems. The most common factors for quitting smoking were health concerns (54%), religious beliefs (29%), and parent’s advice (17%).
The study concludes that the prevalence of smoking varies in different subject streams and that family and friends have a great influence on individuals starting or stopping smoking. Extensive health education programs are needed to educate young women on the health hazards of smoking and help stop them from smoking.