Abstract
AWARENESS OF SMOKING-ASSOCIATED HEALTH RISKS AMONG MALE’S HIGH SCHOOLS STUDENTS IN WEST GAZA CITY

Ahmed Altayyan, Mohammedbaher Skaik, Mustafa Alabbasi, Mohammed Matar, Nour Ismail and Fawzy Sharaf*

ABSTRACT

Background: Cigarette smoking is one of the main causes of preventable global death. More than 7 million people died as a result smoking and exposure to smokers. Smoking causes many serious cardiovascular and respiratory diseases and also badly affects other systems and organs of the human body. These diseases can be prevented if people know and understand these complications and risks that could face them if they smoke. This knowledge and awareness has spread in the developed countries as the number of smokers has been decreasing in the last few decades, but apparently still deficient in the developing countries especially in adolescent, as studies confirmed that onset of smoking in 80-90% were in adolescence. In Palestine, the highest rate of smoking, as the prevalence of smoking among persons aged 15-29 in 2010 was 15% with a higher prevalence among males. In addition, the proportion of smoking among school students is increasing rapidly, in 2005 it was 9.7, in four years only rose to 36.1 in 2009, and in 2014 the average age of smoking was 17 years. Methods: We did a descriptive analysis via a structured questionnaire among high school male students -who mostly lie in the age group of adolescence of the West Gaza City. We took a simple random sample of 200 out of 6818 male students in the schools of West Gaza, and the questionnaires were expexected with attendance of 3 of our teammates and explanation of unclear questions to students. We used 2 Chi-squares to compare results of values between smokers and nonsmokers, and between literary and scientific sections. Results: The participants were between the ages of 16 and 20 years with a mean age of 16.99 ± 0.723 years. Out of the 200 participants included in the study, 117 were in the scientific section and 83 were in the literary section. 17.5% participants were smokers, 66% in the literary section and 34% in the scientific section (p = 0.001). Most of the results were statistically significant in comparing between smokers and non-smokers aware of smoking adverse effects, whereas most of them were not significantly different between scientific and literary sections students. The non-smokers were more acknowledged about the risks of smoking than smokers were, and this leads us to the importance of knowledge in preventing smoking. Conclusion: The prevalence of smoking among adolescents in Gaza is high and it may be also underestimated because some boys might have been ashamed to mention the truth, but the good point is higher education means higher awareness about health risks of smoking, and the higher knowledge the lower risk to smoke.

Keywords: Smoking, Adolescent, Males, Schools, Gaza Strip.


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