To study the prevalence and characteristics of cigarette smoking among secondary school students (16- to 18-year-old boys and girls) in Riyadh city, Saudi Arabia.
We applied a standard two-stage, cross-sectional study design. Secondary schools for both boys and girls in Riyadh city were randomly selected using a cluster sampling method. We used the global youth tobacco survey (GYTS) tool to achieve our objectives.
Among 1272 students (606 boys and 666 girls), the prevalence of those ever smoked cigarettes was 42.8% (55.6% of boys and 31.4% of girls). The prevalence of current smoking was 19.5% (31.2% of boys and 8.9% of girls). Despite the fact that the majority of students think smoking is harmful, most do not wish to stop smoking, and they had not tried to stop in the past year. Cigarette smoking is significantly associated with the male gender, having friends who smoke, and having parents who smoke, but is not significantly associated with the type of school attended.
Smoking prevalence among secondary schools students in Saudi Arabia is high and alarming. There is a need to implement an education program about the risks of smoking and to include parents and friends as healthy models to prevent students from beginning to smoke.