An attempt to assess knowledge about tobacco dependence among students at the Medical University in Wroclaw

The Maria Skłodowska-Curie Memorial Cancer Center and Institute of Oncology, Department of Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention, Warsaw, Poland
Medical University of Wroclaw, Department and Clinic of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, Wroclaw, Poland
Medical University of Wroclaw, Department of Social Medicine, Wroclaw, Poland
Institute of Rural Health, Department of Health Promotion, Food and Nutrition, Lublin, Poland
Ann Agric Environ Med 2012;19(3):345–349
Introduction: Tobacco smoking is still one of the greatest, avoidable, singular causes of death. Although students of medical faculties are expected to have solid knowledge about smoking hazards, a significant number of them still smoke. Aim: The aim of the study was to assess knowledge on tobacco dependence in a sample of students at the Medical University in Wroclaw. Material and methods: Between 2009-2011, non-compulsory lectures on the diagnosis and treatment of tobacco dependence were provided for 3[sup]rd[/sup] to 6[sup]th[/sup] year students of medicine at the Medical University in Wroclaw (170 students). The questionnaire contained 10 questions about smoking-related diseases and medicines used in tobacco dependence treatment. Results: 21% of students smoked cigarettes and 79% were never smokers. 36% of the study group was exposed to passive smoking at the university. Nearly 80% of survey respondents agreed with the statement that cigarette smoking can lead to psychological addiction as strong as drug addiction, but more than 12% of the respondents perceived smoking just as a strong habit. Only 6 out of 10 surveyed students recognised tobacco dependence as an illness classified in an international classification of diseases and health problems (ICD-10). The correct amount of the chemical substances to be found in tobacco smoke was known by 67.1% of all surveyed students. The vast majority of the surveyed students indicated correctly 2 brands of nicotine replacement therapy, but none of them could name even one chemical and corresponding trade name of the pharmaceutical with central effect. Conclusions: The level of knowledge about the diagnosis and treatment of tobacco dependence among the students of the Medical Faculty in Wroclaw Medical University is low, and requires improvement through educational activities at both facultative and compulsory study level. Special attention should be paid to pharmaceutical treatment of the tobacco dependence syndrome.