The purpose of this cross sectional study was to explore university students’ knowledge, attitude and practice towards smoking and to compare these factors between smokers and non-smokers. A sample of 300 students was randomly selected to complete a self-administered questionnaire about knowledge, attitude and practice of smoking in the University, Ojo. The Majority of the smoking students (69%) knew the adverse effects of smoking. Rates of non-smoking students who knew the adverse effects of smoking were significantly higher than that of students who smoke. A high rate of students showed an opposing attitude towards the assumption that smoking females would have more friends (89%), have stronger personality (86%), and be more attractive (89%) than non-smoking females. Similar higher rates of negative attitude were also observed towards the smoking male. About 50% of smokers have a misguided belief that smoking helps them concentrate while studying and 20% believe that smoking helps in avoiding obesity. Students that started smoking before enrollment in a university had a significantly higher rate of heavy smoking as compared to those who started smoking after being enrolled. Students smoke not because they lack the knowledge about the risk of smoking but due to misguided beliefs and attitudes.


Keywords: Attitude, knowledge, practice, smoking, students, university.





1.1     Background of the Study

Smoking has become a complex global public health problem and a major health-risk factor linked with the development of cancer, heart disease, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes (World Bank, 1999). It is responsible for the largest preventable cause of death in the world. Each day more than 13,000 people die prematurely because of tobacco use (CDC, 2000). This figure is expected to almost double by the year 2020. Countries at all levels of development are victims of the tobacco epidemic (WHO, 2003a).

According to the World Bank Reports in 2003 there were about 1.3 billion people smoking cigarettes or other products, and out of them, almost one billion were men and 250 million were women. About 80 percent of these people lived in low and middle-income countries (Guindon & Boisclair, 2003). Cigarette smoking has become not only a national social problem, but a global one also. Smoking is expected to kill 4 million people in the next 12 months, and by 2030, it will kill 10 million people a year, which is more than any other single cause of death. Seven million of these deaths will occur in low-income and middle-income countries (World Bank, 1999; CDC, 2000). Numerous studies reveal that smoking prevalence has remained stable in the United States of America (USA) at 23% since 1993 (Etter, 2004; Fiore, 2003; Giovino, 1994).


The World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated that five million deaths occur annually due to tobacco use and this number of deaths is expected to reach more than eight million by the year 2030 (Gajalakshmi et al., 2004; WHO, 2009). About 80% of this number will be in developing countries (WHO, 2009). However, the exact magnitude of the problem of smoking in developing countries is not well defined. There is little information to describe the characteristics of smoking patterns in these countries (Gajalakshmi et al., 2004). Smoking has a great economic burden by causing a decrease of economic productivity and high health care expenditures in addition to the cost of tobacco (Ruff et al., 2000).


Smoking also has an environmental impact due to second hand (passive) smoking (El-Ansari, 2002). The impact of smoking is not limited on the smokers, but it can spread to affect the non-smokers as well. Second hand smoking has an impact on birth outcomes represented in low birth weight (Abu-Baker et al., 2010), and contribute significantly to respiratory tract infections in infants (Jones et al., 2011).


It is well known that cessation of smoking is extremely difficult. This statement is supported by research that has proved beyond doubt that nicotine is highly addictive (Rugkasa et al., 2001). Smoking prevalence rises sharply during adulthood. This means that there is an induction of smoking even after high school (Torabi et al., 2002). Between 1991 and 1997, the rate of smoking had increased by 32% among 18 to 24 years old adults in the USA (Torabi et al., 2002). Studying smoking behavior and attitude among this sector of the population will add valuable information about the patterns of smoking among this age group (Vakeflliu et al., 2002). In addition, knowledge about previously identified socio-environmental factors associated with smoking among college students in developing countries is limited (Pickett et al., 2000; Moore, 2001).


1.2     Aim of the Study

  • The aim of this study is to investigate the knowledge, attitude and practice on smoking among University students in Nigeria.


1.3     Objectives of the Study

  • To find out the knowledge about tobacco smoking among Nigerian University students
  • To determine the smoking practice among Nigerian University students
  • To investigate the gender difference of smoking among Nigerian University students
  • To investigate effective methods to reduce prevalence of smoking in Nigerian University


1.4     Research Questions

  • What is the prevalence smoking practice among Nigerian University students
  • How are the knowledge, attitude, and practice students in Nigerian University related to smoking?
  • Is there any gender difference as related to smoking among Nigerian University students
  • What is the effective methods to reduce prevalence of smoking in Nigerian University


1.5     Research Hypotheses

  • Smoking rate among Nigerian University is lower than among general population.
  • How are the knowledge, attitude, and practice students in Nigerian University related to smoking?
  • Smoking among Nigerian University students is gender related


1.6     Definition of Terms

  • Knowledge is a familiarity with someone or something, which can include facts, information, descriptions, or skills acquired through experience or education. It can refer to the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject. It can be implicit (as with practical skill or expertise) or explicit (as with the theoretical understanding of a subject); it can be more or less formal or systematic.
  • Attitude: An attitude is an expression of favor or disfavor toward a person, place, thing, or event (the attitude object). Prominent psychologist Gordon Allport once described attitudes “the most distinctive and indispensable concept in contemporary social psychology.”.[1] Attitude can be formed from a person’s past and present.[2] Attitude is also measurable and changeable as well as influencing the person’s emotion and behavior.
  • Practice is the act of rehearsing a behavior over and over, or engaging in an activity again and again, for the purpose of improving or mastering it, as in the phrase “practice makes perfect”. Sports teams practice to prepare for actual games. Playing a musical instrument well takes a lot of practice. It is a method of learning and of acquiring experience.
  • Smoking is a practice in which a substance, most commonly tobacco, is burned and the smoke is tasted or inhaled. This is primarily practised as a route of administration for recreational drug use, as combustion releases the active substances in drugs such as nicotine and makes them available for absorption through the lungs. It can also be done as a part of rituals, to induce trances and spiritual enlightenment.
  • Student is a learner, or someone who attends an educational institution. In some nations, the English term (or its cognate in another language) is reserved for those who attend university, while a schoolchild under the age of eighteen is called a pupil in English (or an equivalent in other languages), although in the United States a person enrolled in grades K–12 is often called a student. In its widest use, student is used for anyone who is learning, including mid-career adults who are taking vocational education or returning to university.
  • University is an institution of higher education and research which grants academic degrees in a variety of subjects and provides both undergraduate education and postgraduate education. The word “university” is derived from the Latin universitas magistrorum et scholarium, which roughly means “community of teachers and scholars.


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