Cigarette Smoking Habits among Adolescents in Northeast Nigeria
Abstract: Tobacco smoking is a growing public health problem in the developing world. The health hazards of smoking are well documented, and prevention of smoking has been described as the single greatest opportunity for preventing noncommunicable disease in the world today. A cross-sectional survey was carried out to determine the cigarette smoking habits among adolescents in a rural setting in northeast Nigeria. One hundred and seventy-one (171) adolescents aged 12 to 17 were randomly selected from four districts of Yola south Local Government Area of Adamawa State. They responded to a modified version of the standard questionnaire recommended for surveying smoking habits in young people. Of 109 males, 44 (40%) and 62 females fourteen (23%) were current light smokers; with over 85% of all smokers consuming fewer than 10 cigarettes a day. The prevalence of smoking in this study was 33.9%. Over half of current smokers and ex-smokers started smoking between the ages of 13 and 15 years. The largest group of male and female smokers were influenced to start smoking by the relative influence of one or both parents, siblings, or friends, and only 25% of males and 21.4% of females were influenced by advertisements. Most respondents continued to smoke even when they were aware of the health hazards of smoking. Anti-tobacco education and awareness should be adopted in the curriculum of schools and colleges. All forms of tobacco advertising and promotional activities should be banned in Nigeria, and parents should be encouraged to adopt more responsible attitudes toward smoking in the home.