Tobacco smoking problem in a group of 18-year-old high school students in the city of Gdańsk – finding causes and preventive methods

Nowicka-Sauer K, Łaska M, Sadlak-Nowicka J, Antkiewicz H, Bochniak M


Purpose: The aim of the study was to evaluate smoking prevalence among 18-year-old secondary school students as well as their awareness of systemic health threats of smoking. Our goal was also to discuss the youth smoking risk factors and effective ways both to prevent and fight smoking problem.
Material and methods: 1516 18-year-old students (808 men, 708 women) from randomly selected 12 high schools were studied. The adolescents fulfilled the anonymus questionaire.
Results: 34.1% (517) of all participants smoke every day or occasionally, with the highest percentage of smokers in vocational schools (49.6%); women are the most frequent smokers (52.8%). The lower prevalence of smoking was observed in high schools (21.2% of men, 20% of women). In technical high schools 36.1% of men and 11.1% of women were smokers. The habitual smokers were found in all schools; the highest percentage was observed in vocational schools (32.75%-33.13%). The percentage was particularly high among women (33.13%). 92.09% of studied women and 89.95% of men were aware of smoking systemic health threats (93.84% of high school students, 88.25% of vocational school students).
Conclusions: It is alarming that the percentage of smokers among 18-year-old students is high, in particular among women and vocational schools students. The results indicate that smoking is a serious problem in this population. It is vital to create the preventing and educating programmes addressed especially to adolescents. There is a need of future studies aimed to evaluate smoking risk factors and create effective methods of prevention as well as smoking cessation help resources.

Key words: adolescents, cigarette smoking, prevalence, psychosocial risk factors, prevention.