Biomedical Research

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Smoking prevalence among elementary school-age children in Sirnak province in Turkey

Introduction: Majority of the smokers start smoking before adulthood. Determine smoking prevalence among elementary school students, and investigate the age they start smoking, their access to tobacco and the effects of smuggling on these outcomes.

Materials and Methods: An adapted version of “IUATLD”/WHO smoking questionnaire was administered to 600 elementary school-age students in Sirnak province. All questionnaires were returned and all were evaluable.

Results: Of all participants, 333 were boys and 267 were girls. Non-smokers accounted for 57% of the study population, while the remaining 43% used tobacco in any form. Answers provided regarding access to tobacco indicated that 86% had no difficulty while buying tobacco, 97.7% of the smokers bought a single cigarette, and 88.4% of the smokers smoked duty-free/illegal/cheap tobacco. A questionnaire consisting of questions regarding smoking habits was administered to children aged between 6-14 years, who had referred to the polyclinics of Sirnak State Hospital between March 2011 and October 2011.

Conclusion: The findings suggested that smoking prevalence can be high and nicotine addiction can be common among elementary school-aged children (age interval: 6-14 years) in Sirnak in Turkey, in addition to demonstrating that these children can easily access tobacco without experiencing any difficulties.

Author(s): Konuk Suat, Coban Hikmet, Nalbant Ahmet, Bilgin Cahit