Adolescent Smoking - A Study of Knowledge, Attitude and Practice in High School Children
Shashidhar A, J Harish, S R Keshavamurthy
Department of Pediatrics, Kempegowda Institute of Medical sciences, Bangalore, India
Abstract

Objective: To estimate the prevalence, pattern, and correlates of smoking amongst high school children in Bangalore South and to assess their knowledge and attitude towards smoking.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in 2 randomly selected schools in Bangalore South.

A total of 501 students participated in the study in the age group of 12-17yrs. The knowledge attitude and practice of smoking were assessed using a pre-designed questionnaire.

Results: Prevalence of smoking was 6.8%. Smoking was predominantly a male feature and about half were occasional smokers (once in 3 months). Peer influence was cited as the most common initiating factor and the 1st puff was taken most commonly at mean age of 13 yrs. Majority of non-smokers (88%) cited "bad for health" as the primary reason for not smoking. More than half the children had a smoker in the house and about 40% had no idea about dangers of smoking. Majority of participants had never been taught about smoking either in school or at homes and more than half obtained information about smoking from TV.

Conclusion: The prevalence obtained correlates with similar studies in India and highlights smoking as a major health and social issue in adolescents. The results clearly indicate major lacunae not only in current educational system but also in parental upbringing not giving worthy importance to smoking and its health hazards. The need of the hour is to target and focus interventions through comprehensive programmes aimed at children, school authorities, parents and policy makers.
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