Active and passive tobacco smoking among students of the University of Yaoundé I, Cameroon
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University of Yaoundé I, Department of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Cameroon
Ministry of Public Health, Department for the Control of Diseases, Epidemics and Pandemics, Cameroon
University of Yaoundé I, Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Cameroon
Ngaoundéré Regional Hospital and Regional Technical Group for the fight against HIV/AIDS, HIV Care Unit, Cameroon
University of Cape Town and Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town, Department of Medicine, South Africa
Publication date: 2018-03-01
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A557
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Tobacco smoking is a leading cause of preventable deaths globally. Although tobacco-induced burden has started decreasing in developed countries, it is continuously increasing in developing countries with young populations being mostly affected. This study aimed to determine the prevalence of active and passive smoking among youths in Cameroon.

This was a cross-sectional study carried-out from May-July 2017 at the University of Yaoundé I, Cameroon. We included any student registered at the University, found at one of the campuses when the investigators visited, and volunteering to participate. Smoking status was classified as never, former (last smoked more than 12 month ago) or current (smoked regularly in the last 12 months). Passive smoking was defined as a regular exposure to tobacco smoke since the last twelve months.

Overall, 949 (54% males) were included in this study, with a median age of 23 years (interquartile range (IQR) 21-26). The prevalence of former, current and passive smoking was 3.4% (95% confidence interval (CI): 2.3-4.6), 0.8% (95%CI: 0.2-1.4), and 27.7% (95%CI: 24.9-30.6), respectively. Exposure to other people's smoke ranged from 1 to 50 hours per week, with a median of 1 hour/week (IQR 1-2). Those who smoked were more likely to be males (odds ratio (OR) 2.05, 95%CI: 1.03-4.08; p=0.037) and/or hazardous alcohol drinkers (OR 4.93, 95%CI: 2.55-9.52; p< 0.001). Similarly, males (OR 1.57, 95%CI: 1.18-2.11; p=0.002) and/or hazardous alcohol drinkers (OR 2.10, 95%CI: 1.55-2.86; p< 0.001) were more at risk of passive smoking.

Although the prevalence of active smoking seemed low in this population, almost one-third of students were passive smokers, reflecting a high burden of tobacco smoking in the general population. Therefore, regulations towards tobacco consumption should be reinforced in our country. Specifically, special laws banning and severely punishing smoking in public places should be voted and adopted.

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