Tobacco use amongst high school students in the Czech Republic.Cent Eur J Public Health 2004; 12(1):32-5CE
We were interested in the prevalence of smoking amongst teen-age students, its possible causes, and their understanding of its associated health risks.
We constructed a questionnaire that was responded to by a total of 419 students from 5 high schools in Prague, Czech Republic. Students were classified as non-smokers, mild (1-10 cigarettes daily), moderate (11-20 cigarettes daily), and severe smokers (>20 cigarettes daily). The survey also contained questions about passive smoking, motivation for smoking, the understanding of its associated health risks, alcohol consumption, and drugs.
We found that amongst 16-20 years old high school students there are 37.5% smokers (38.0% men, and 37.0% women). The majority are mild smokers (82.3%), 15.8% moderate smokers and 1.9% heavy smokers. 29.0% of non-smokers reported passive smoking; i.e. that 65.7% of students are exposed to harmful effect of tobacco smoke. The average onset of smoking is at 14 years of age. The youngest smoker started smoking at the age of 5 years. Parents of 52.0% of students smoke (69.4% of smokers and 41.6% of non-smokers). Most of students know about the risk of lung cancer and cardiovascular diseases (86-99%).
The prevalence of active and passive smoking among high school students is high. Parents smoking is significantly more frequent in teen-age smokers than in non-smokers. We consider the "teen-age" population together with their parents to be the key target for a successful antismoking campaign.