STUDENTS’ KNOWLEDGE AND ATTITUDES TOWARDS ILL-EFFECTS OF TOBACCO USE IN JOS METROPOLIS OF PLATEAU STATE, NIGERIA

Title of Paper STUDENTS’ KNOWLEDGE AND ATTITUDES TOWARDS ILL-EFFECTS OF TOBACCO USE IN JOS METROPOLIS OF PLATEAU STATE, NIGERIA
Authors Umoh A.E, Otoh E.C and Jalo P.H
Year of Publication/Presentation June 2011
Publication Details/Conference Venue Nigerian Dental Journal, Vol. 19 No. 1, Jan 2011. 1SSN 0189-1006
Research Area Tobacco Use
Background: Young people are vulnurable to a range of ill behaviours including tobacco use. Preventing tobacco use among youths may be an easier task than helping adults break the habit of smoking and overcome its ill effects. The objective of this study was to determine the knowledge and attitude of students towards the ill-effects of tobacco use on health.
Methodology:
This was a cross-sectional study involving secondary and tertiary school students from three selected Local Government Areas (LGAs) – (Jos North, Jos South and Jos East) – in the Jos metroplis of Nigeria. A two-stage sampling technique was used with four secondary schools selected from each of the three Local Government Areas . Two tertiary schools were selected from Jos South and three from Jos North proportionally to the number of schools in the two LGAs. The second stage was the selection of 661 students from the selected seventeen schools using systematic sampling procedure. A self/interviewer-administered questionnaire on smoking habits, knowlegde of the forms of tobacco, ill-effects of tobacco use, and attitude towards quitting was used for data collection.
Results: The mean ages were 18.09±2.11 years for secondary school students and 30.65 ±8.72 years for tertiary school students. The prevalence of tobacco use among secondary and tertiary school students were 13.6% and 22.4% respectively. More than half of the students take tobacco for social influence and cigarette was the major form of tobacco use. Majority of the students (92.9%) were generally aware of the fact that tobacco use has adverse effects on health but, knowledge of the specific side effects was low. More than a quarter of the attempted quitters sought advice about quitting from friends rather than health professionals.
Conclusion/Recommendation: Knowledge of the specific hazards of tobacco was low, especially among current users of tobacco. There is an urgent need for education on tobacco and the initiation of cessation campaigns among the youths. The ill-effects of unhealthy lifestyles, including tobacco use, should be incorporated into the secondary schools curriculum. Health professionals, as major stakeholders, should be fully involved in these campaigns.