SRINAGAR: A study on cigarette smoking among school students in Srinagar by Government Medical College (GMC) Srinagar has exposed an alarming prevalence of the menace among school children.
According to the survey, about 29 percent of school-going teenagers in Srinagar have tried smoking at least once and 23 percent of the adolescents are currently indulging in cigarette smoking.
The school based cross sectional study was conducted by the GMC from June 2015 to March 2017 in 20 schools of Srinagar. Some 1200 adolescents enrolled in grade 9-12 in public and private schools of various parts of Srinagar city were included. All the respondents were boys in the age category of 13 to 19 years.[epq-quote align=”align-right”]WORLD NO TOBACCO DAY[/epq-quote]
The study revealed that majority of the respondents first initiated smoking at the age of 14 to 15 years while nearly 50 percent of the student smokers are in the age group of 16 to 17 years.
“Among the respondents 181 (15.1%) of them usually smoked 2 to 5 cigarettes on the days they smoked, and most (14.8%) of them buy their cigarette often from shop,” it said adding that 16.1 percent of the respondents who are smoking now spend more than 1000 rupees on cigarettes in a month.
The results of the study also highlight the limited knowledge and negative perception about smoking as the leading causes of cigarette smoking among adolescent students.
“Overall, 235 (19.6%) of adolescents think that boys who smoke cigarettes have more friends. Likewise, 376 (31.4%) of adolescents think that boys who smoke are more attractive,” it said.
Although, all the surveyed adolescents (94.6%) think that cigarette smoking is harmful to health, however, only 18.6% of the surveyed school adolescents indicated that they discussed the harmful effects of smoking with a family member or with friends.
Majority of the adolescents (82.8%), as per study, indicated that once someone starts smoking it is difficult to quit. Parents of the adolescents were smokers in 85.1% of current smokers. Similarly almost all the adolescents smoking now have smoker closest friends.
Attitude towards quitting
Among those now smoking, 172/276 (62.3%) of the adolescents want to quit smoking cigarettes at the time of survey. However, only 56/276 (20.2%) of them tried to quit during the past year. Moreover half of the now smoking adolescents indicated that they would be able to quit smoking if they wanted to and only half of them received help or advice that encourage them to quit smoking.
Around 40% of the adolescents had quit smoking cigarette in the last year, and they have mentioned reasons for quitting.
The study concluded that the prevalence of cigarette smoking among senior secondary school student in Srinagar city is “significantly high” and the trend is on the increase.
“It is very important that aggressive anti-smoking campaigns backed by effective legislation be put in place to cut this trend,” it suggested.