E-CIGARETTE USE, OPINION ABOUT HARMFULNESS AND ADDICTION AMONG UNIVERSITY STUDENTS IN BRATISLAVA, SLOVAKIA

Jana Babjaková, Kvetoslava Rimárová, Michael Weitzman, Milena Bušová, Jana Jurkovičová, Erik Dorko, Ľubica Argalášová

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives: The study aimed to investigate the use of electronic cigarettes (EC) among medical students, their knowledge and beliefs (opinion about harmfulness and addiction potential) on ECs, perceptions of the risk, as well as to assess the type of education and cessation training they received during their study at Faculty of Medicine, Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovakia. Methods: This cross-sectional, anonymous online e-mailed survey was conducted among medical students via the Study Department by sending e-mails containing the survey link. Participants completed the online questionnaire adapted from the American Survey on Tobacco and Alternative Tobacco Products. It included questions about the personal use of EC, perceptions about the harms and their role in disease causation, education and cessation training, and practices related to conventional cigarettes (CC), EC, and alternative tobacco products (ATP). The e-mailed questionnaire filled in 577 medical students (71.9% women) from Comenius University in Bratislava, the average age was 23 ± 2 years. The sample comprised 486 (84.2%) Slovak and 91 (15.8%) foreign students. The data were analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) version 25. Results: There were 385 (66.7%) non-smokers, 111 (19.3%) ex-smokers and 81 (14%) current smokers in the study sample. EC currently use 13.5% of medical students, with a statistically significant intersexual difference (22.2% males vs. 10.12% females; OR = 2.53, 95% CI: 1.55–4.13), more foreign students than Slovak students (24.2% vs. 11.52%; OR = 2.44, 95% CI: 1.41–4.26), more smokers of conventional cigarettes than non-smokers (46.9% vs. 8.06%; OR = 10.07, 95% CI: 5.85–17.34). EC seems to be less harmful to 59.97% of students, mostly in the age group ≤ 24 (61.76% vs. 51.49%; OR = 1.46, 95% CI: 1.03–2.07), 41.25% of students consider EC to be less addictive, 55.6% think they do not get enough education on EC during their medical study. Conclusion: The results overall show the high consumption of tobacco products and the lack of knowledge and awareness among medical students, future health care providers. In health promotion and disease prevention, they should serve as a model for their patients and for the general public as well. Our study emphasizes the need for intervention in this field at medical faculties and for support of further monitoring in Slovakia and other countries and draws attention to the ongoing lack of EC regulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S50-S56
JournalCentral European Journal of Public Health
Volume30
Issue numberSupplement
DOIs
StatePublished - 2022

Keywords

  • electronic cigarettes
  • questionnaire survey
  • Slovakia
  • university students

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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