PREVALENCE, PATTERNS AND PERCEPTION OF TOBACCO USE AMONG HEALTH SCIENCES UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS IN MALAYSIA: A CROSS SECTIONAL STUDY
The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence and patterns of tobacco use among health sciences undergraduate students. A cross-sectional study was conducted among 422 students in four health sciences faculties at a private university in Kota Damansara, Selangor Malaysia. Data was collected through a self-administrated validated questionnaire, adopted and modified from the Global Youth Tobacco Survey. The survey was administered online using a Google Form for the participants to fill. Data was analysed using SPSS version 22. Descriptive statistics was used to express results in percentage. Chi-square test and multivariable logistic regression was used to test the association of smoking status and demographic variables. p value of <0.05 was considered as statistically significant. Results showed that more than 90% of the respondents were aware of the harmful effects of tobacco and effects of passive smoking. About one fifth of the participants had used tobacco (19%) in our study. Out of the tobacco users, 95% had used tobacco in more than one form. The most important reasons for smoking were peer pressure (36%) and stress (35%). No significant differences were found between age, faculty, year of study, or nationality, with the use of tobacco. Multivariable logistic regression analysis showed significant gender differences in smoking with more smokers among males than females. In conclusion, about one fifth of the health science undergraduate students had used tobacco products in our study reflecting a seemingly inappropriate portrait as compared to their future careers as health professionals. Therefore, there is an urgent need for reinforcement of education and assistance on quitting tobacco usage among the undergraduates of health science faculties.
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