Acta Medica Medianae
Healthcare Center Kladovo Dunavska 1-3, 19320 Kladovo
Tatjana Cagulović1, Biljana Kocić2 i Irena Mihajlović3
Smoking is the most spread modern, social disease worlwide. It is considered that efficient programs of cigarette smoking prevention implemented among adolescents would considerably lower the morbidity and mortality in adults reported for diseases caused by smoking.
The aim of the research was to investigate the prevalence of cigarette smoking among school children and youth in the municipality of Kladovo, as well as the nature of their smoking habit.
The research, in the form of cross-sectional study, was conducted among the pupils of higher grades of elementary schools and all grades of high schools from the territory of the Municipality of Kladovo, during May and June, 2008. Five hundred and twenty-seven examinees aged 10-19 years (49.71% were boys and 50.28% girls) were polled. Data collection was done by a modified form of the Global Youth Tobacco Survey.
15.9% of examinees declared to be smokers. The rate of cigarette smoking prevalence increases with aging: it is lowest at the age of 12 (2.4%) and highest in the examinees aged 17 years or over (30.5%). There is high statistically significant association between age and prevalence of cigarette smoking. The prevalence of cigarette smoking among boys is 16.5%, and 15.3% among girls, without statistically significant difference among sexes. The prevalence of cigarette smoking is ten times higher (30.8%) among adolescents whose best friends (45%) are smokers. This prevalence is 4.5 times higher among adolescents whose boyfriends/ girlfriends (16.3%) are smokers. The rate of cigarette smoking prevalence is proportional to the number of parents-smokers: in a group of children whose both parents are smokers, there is the highest prevalence of cigarette smoking (26.2%). The majority of pupils consider that cigarette smoking can seriously damage health (96.8%). The distribution of smoking habit is statistically significantly higher in the group of pupils who are not aware that cigarette smoking is harmful (35.3%). Only 16.7% of examinees mention that preservation of health is the chief motive to quit cigarette smoking. Even 64.3% of examinees do not consider to quit smoking at all. There is a necessity for strict implementation of the healthcare and educational programs in the lower grades of elementary school. The programs should match the age of pupils, and besides providing the information on tobacco harmful effects, they should develop certain skills and techniques which would help them resist to temptations of their peers to consume tobacco or some other psychoactive substances. Greater engagement of health workers is indispensable, primarily in the field of preventive medicine; they should educate adolescents about tobacco harmful effects and motivate the current smokers to quit this habit.
The state itself should be more engaged in the implementation of the health care politics and the current legislation, especially the provisions related to the prohibition of smoking in public places, prohibition of selling tobacco products to minors, and prohibition of tobacco advertising. In addition, the state should increase the budget for these purposes, support health workers in conducting preventive activities and making the healthy environment in schools for children and youths. Acta Medica Medianae 2009;48(4):27-31.
Key words: cigarette smoking, adolescents, health, prevention