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Effects of health education on cigarette smoking habits of young adults in tertiary institutions in a northern nigerian state

Objectives: The study assessed the effects of health education intervention on knowledge of health hazards, attitude and practice of cigarette smoking among students of College of Education, Ilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria. Methodology: This is an intervention study conducted using the students of College of Education, Oro, Kwara State as the control group. The study was in 3 stages: pre-intervention, intervention and post-intervention. At the pre-intervention phase, 280 students were selected in each of the study and control groups by multistage sampling technique. Self-administered questionnaire was used for data collection. In the intervention stage, health education was given to the students of College of Education, Ilorin. Impact of intervention was assessed by re-assessing knowledge, attitude and practice of the students after intervention. Results: Pre- intervention, 67.9% of the study group and 64.2% of the control group were aware that cigarette smoking was associated with lung cancer. However fewer respondents in both groups (9.6% in the study and 12.9% in the control) were aware of the association with cardiovascular problems. About one quarter of the respondents in both groups had smoked cigarette at one time or the other. More than three quarters of smokers in both groups were males. The majority of the respondents learnt to smoke from their friends (51.0% of the study group and 60.4% of the control group). After the health education intervention statistically significant increase in awareness of health problems associated with cigarette smoking was found in the study group unlike the control group. Conclusion: The study demonstrated that health education is effective in changing attitude to cigarette smoking. It is recommended that continuous health education programmes on smoking should be organized by institutions, associations and societies within and outside the schools as this will make them well informed towards behavioural change.

Author(s): Salaudeen Adekunle

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