Smoking, Awareness of Smoking-associated Health Risks, and Knowledge of National Tobacco Legislation in Gaza, Palestine

Abu Shomar, R T, Lubbad, I K, El Ansari, Walid, Al-Khatib, I A and Alharazin, H J (2014) Smoking, Awareness of Smoking-associated Health Risks, and Knowledge of National Tobacco Legislation in Gaza, Palestine. Central European Journal of Public Health, 22 (2). pp. 80-89.

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AIMS: To assess university students' extent of smoking, knowledge of smoking health risks, and awareness of existing national anti-smoking laws. METHODS: Self-administered questionnaire was employed across 7 universities (1,104 students, equal proportions of males and females) located in Gaza Strip, Palestine. RESULTS: About 55% of participants reported ever smoking, 31% were current cigarette smokers, and 36% were 'strictly' (only) narghile (water pipe) smokers. Mean age of smoking initiation was 17 +/- 3.15 years. Smokers had less knowledge of smoking associated health risks than nonsmokers. Students' knowledge of existing anti-smoking laws was generally low (11.3-25.5%), and significantly more smokers had knowledge about existing laws (ban of advertisement of smoking, ban of smoking in public places, and ban of selling cigarettes to minors) than non-smokers. About 81% of current smokers tried to quit smoking at least once during their life, 53% felt ready to quit smoking if cessation assistance was provided, 17% were not ready to quit, and 30% were reluctant/felt unsure if they were ready to quit. Most students (94.3%) reported that there were no smoking cessation centres in Palestine, or did not know if such centres existed. Males were associated with almost all categories of smoking (e.g. smoking both cigarettes and narghile, or smoking narghile only). CONCLUSIONS: There is a lack of knowledge about the existing national anti-smoking legislation among university students in Gaza, Palestine. Smoking cessation centres also seem non-existent in Gaza. Multi-level interventions and actions are required by policy makers, educators and non-governmental agencies to prevent smoking among university students in Gaza, and to educate them on tobacco cessation counselling, on the dangers of tobacco use, and about effective stress management strategies to help them to cope with stressors. Smoking cessation interventions are required to address both cigarette and narghile use. Efforts need to be invested in ensuring compliance with legislation and for follow-up activities to enforce the anti-smoking laws through coordinated actions across ministries and departments.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Awareness Family Female *Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice Humans Male Middle East Questionnaires Sex Factors Smoking/*epidemiology/psychology Smoking Cessation/methods/psychology Students Tobacco Products/*statistics & numerical data Tobacco Smoke Pollution/*legislation & jurisprudence Universities/*statistics & numerical data
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Natural, Social and Sports Sciences > Sports Sciences
Research Priority Areas: Health, Life Sciences, Sport and Wellbeing
Depositing User: Susan Turner
Date Deposited: 26 Jan 2015 12:37
Last Modified: 21 Sep 2022 08:42

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