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Year : 2006  |  Volume : 31  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 35

An epidemiological study of cigarette smoking among male college students of Delhi University

1 Department of Community Medicine, Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi-2, India
2 Professor and Head, Department of Psychiatry, G.B. Pant Hospital, New Delhi-2, India

Date of Web Publication8-Aug-2009

Correspondence Address:
M Meghachandra Singh
Department of Community Medicine, Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi-2
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0970-0218.54934

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How to cite this article:
Sharma N, Singh M M, Ingle G K, Jiloha R C. An epidemiological study of cigarette smoking among male college students of Delhi University. Indian J Community Med 2006;31:35

How to cite this URL:
Sharma N, Singh M M, Ingle G K, Jiloha R C. An epidemiological study of cigarette smoking among male college students of Delhi University. Indian J Community Med [serial online] 2006 [cited 2021 Jun 15];31:35. Available from: https://www.ijcm.org.in/text.asp?2006/31/1/35/54934

Tobacco related illnesses are estimated to be a leading cause of death worldwide with about 4 million deaths a year - 3 million in the industrialized countries and 1 million in the developing world. Globally, tobacco is consumed mostly in smoking form [1] . It has been observed that majority of the smokers get into the habit of smoking during their adolescence. Stressors of the adolescence years seem to play an important role in initiating and maintaining the smoking behaviour among them.

A cross-sectional study was conducted among 800 male college students of Delhi University. They were selected randomly from four colleges, one college each from North, South, East and West zones of Delhi. A pre-tested self administered questionnaire in Hindi was used to collect the information after taking informed consent.

Modified Presumptive Stressful Life Events Scale (PSLES), which is a standardized and validated tool, was used to measure the stress score in each study subject [2] . A total of 51 events are listed in the scale with a mean stress score assigned to each item. Mean stress score for each individual is counted by dividing the total stress score by number of incidents. Smoking was categorized as low to moderate (smoking less than 20 cigarettes per day) and heavy smoker (smoking more than 20 cigarettes per day).

The prevalence of current smokers was 224 (28.0%). This is higher than that reported by Mohan et al in 1976 (13.4% to 13.7%) amongst male students in Delhi [3] . Age at initiation of smoking was between 15 to 19 years (84.3%) followed by 10­14 years (9.8%) and least between 20-24 years (5.8%). The reasons for initiation of smoking were: for fun (50.8%), peer pressure (41.0%), stress/tension (17.8%), curiosity (12.5%), parent smoker (5.3%), sibling smoker (0.8%) and other reasons (6.2%). 92 smokers (41.0%) tried to quit smoking sometime during their smoking career. The mean duration of cessation ranged between two to three months. The reasons for restarting were: for fun (65.2%), stress (28.2%) and peer pressure (6.5%). The reasons for continuation of smoking among the smokers were: for pleasure (24.5%), relief of stress (18.3%), for fun (17.8%), during relaxation (7.1%), for company sake (7.1%), habit (4.4%), addiction (3.1%), no specific reason (17.4%). A study by Sarason et al [4] among adolescents also cited pleasure and addiction as the prime reasons for continued smoking.

The smokers cited increase in smoking in some situations such as during stress (32.1%), with alcohol intake (29.4%), while relaxing (18.3%), with tea or coffee (5.3%), others (14.2%) (alone, in company of friends, and ceremonies). Only 14 (6.2%) did not increase smoking in any situation. The mean increase in number of cigarettes in specific situations were: with alcohol intake (7.0), during stress (6.8), while relaxing (4.5), at work (3.8), with tea/coffee (3.2), others i.e. alone/with friends/ceremonies (3.9).

It was observed that lifetime stress score (mean ± SD) was significantly higher among smokers (51.3 ± 3.1) than non­smokers (42.4 ± 3.3) (p <0.05). The mean lifetime stress score of heavy smokers (57.2 ± 3.3) was significantly higher than low to moderate smokers (46.3 ± 2.9) (p <0.05). West et al [5] also observed that smokers consistently scored higher on measures of current psychological stress than do non smokers or ex-smokers even after controlling factors such as marital status, employment status, psychiatric history, personality and social class.

The findings of the present study highlight the need to counsel male college students so as to deter them from taking up smoking just for fun, pleasure and as a coping mechanism against stress.

   References Top

1.Gupta PC, Sinha DN. Tobacco research in India. Indian J Public Health 2004;XXXXVIII:103-4.  Back to cited text no. 1    
2.Singh G. Presumptive Stressful Life Events Scale (PSLES). Indian Journal of Psychiatry 1984;26:101-14.  Back to cited text no. 2    
3.Mohan D, Arora A. Prevalence and patterns of drug abuse among Delhi University college students. J Indian Med Assoc 1976; 66:28.  Back to cited text no. 3  [PUBMED]  
4.Sarason IG, Mankowski ES, Peterson AV, Pin KT. Adolescents' reasons for smoking. J Sch Health 1992;62:185-90. 6  Back to cited text no. 4    
5.West R, Schneider N. Craving for cigarette. Br J Addict 1987; 82:407-15.  Back to cited text no. 5  [PUBMED]  

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