Author(s): AE Fawibe, AO Shittu
Background: Smoking control is urgently needed to prevent the epidemic of tobacco-related diseases and deaths in developing countries. This requires data on smoking, especially among vulnerable groups like students. We have surveyed cigarette smoking among undergraduates of the University of Ilorin, in the North Central region of Nigeria. Materials and Methods: This was a questionnaire-based survey among undergraduates of the University of Ilorin. A total of 1800 students were selected by multistage random sampling. Results: A total of 1754 students (234 medical and 1520 non-medical students) completed the questionnaires. They were 1148 (65.5%) males and 606 (34.5%) females with a mean age of 21.6 ± 3.1 years. The prevalence rate of current smoking was 5.7% (males 7.7%, females 2.0%) and of ever smoking was 17.1% (males 22.9%, females 6.2%). Smoking was more common in non-medical students. Eighty-three (83.8%) of the smokers had already started smoking by their eighteenth birthday. Fifty-one (51.5%) of them smoked ≤ 5 sticks of cigarettes daily. Most of them were influenced into smoking by peer pressure and commercial advertisements. Sixty-seven (67.6%) of them believed that smoking could never have a negative impact on their health status and quality of life and just 39 (39.4%) smokers were willing to quit. Conclusions: Despite the low prevalence rate of smoking in the studied population, a majority of them were not willing to quit because of a low perception of the negative effects of smoking on their health and quality of life. Comprehensive antismoking campaigns were urgently needed to control cigarette smoking among University undergraduates in Nigeria.