Tobacco use among high shool students in Kampala, Uganda: questionnaire study.Croat Med J 2004; 45(1):80-3CM
To determine the prevalence of tobacco-use and describe tobacco-related knowledge, perceptions, and behavior of high school students aged 13-15 years in Kampala, Uganda.
A cross-sectional questionnaire study was carried out among 2,789 students in 19 high schools in Kampala District, Uganda, in 2002. In each school, three classes from Senior One to Senior Three (average student age, 13 to 15 years, respectively) were randomly selected. All students who consented to participate in the study filled out a questionnaire consisting of 58 questions, with core items selected from the Global Youth Tobacco Survey. The questions were grouped into categories relating to tobacco use, knowledge and attitudes toward smoking, exposure to second hand smoke, attitude toward cessation of smoking, exposure to tobacco-related advertisements in the media, and education on tobacco and smoking in school.
Out of 2,789 students, 488 (17.5%) reported to have smoked tobacco, with 185 (37.9%) of them trying or starting smoking before the age of 10. There were 148 (5.3%) current smokers. More than two-thirds (77.9%) of current smokers expressed a desire to stop smoking, 76.9% had tried to stop, and 84.1% had received help or advice to stop smoking. At least two-thirds of the students reported seeing both anti-tobacco and pro-tobacco advertisements in the preceding month. About 15.7 % of the students had an item with a cigarette brand logo, whereas 11.1% had been offered free cigarettes by a tobacco company representative. Current smokers usually smoked at home (30.2%), at a friend's place (29.3%), in public places (12.1%), at social events (10.4%), and at workplace (1.5%). Current smokers were also more likely than non-smokers to be exposed to passive smoking at home (56.4% vs at 15.9%, respectively; p<0.001).
Many high school students in Kampala are exposed to tobacco advertising, especially through the media. Efforts to control smoking in this age-group should also target their parents and other family members, by means of the media.