2009 Volume 75 Issue 1 Pages 18-29
Because smoking among young adults is a growing public health concern, the present study evaluated unhealthy behaviors related to smoking and attitudes toward smoking among Japanese paramedical students. Using a repeatedly measured cross sectional study, the optimal season for educating paramedical students on tobacco-related problems was determined.
Two cross sectional surveys were repeatedly conducted at the University of East Asia in April and October, 2006. On both occasions, the questionnaires were administered to students on smoking habits, attitude toward smoking and lifestyle behaviors. We collected 295 questionnaires (244 males and 51 females) and 218 questionnaires (183 males and 35 females) during the respective periods.
In the April survey, there were significantly more smokers among men than among women and significantly more in the higher than in lower grades, but these significant differences disappeared by the October survey. The smoking rates of students who felt fairly good or good in sense of well-being were significantly lower in both surveys.
Adjusted odds ratios for smoking showed significant associations with skipping meals, eating out of home, sleeping status, and alcohol drinking in the April survey. Additionally, the October survey showed a significant association with skipping meals, eating out of home, sleeping medication usage and alcohol drinking.
All statements regarding attitudes toward smoking showed higher scores of agreement among non-smokers than smokers and there were significant differences except for two of the statements in the April survey. There were with larger differences in October than April, but no significant differences between the April and October surveys.
To formulate an effective tobacco control strategy in paramedical schools, it would work best to add smoking cessation topics to the curriculum in April for first grade students.