201856 Cigarette Smoking and Associated Health Risk Behaviors Among Students at Five Universities

Monday, November 9, 2009: 8:30 AM

Abigail Halperin, MD, MPH , Tobacco Studies Program, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Stevens Smith, PhD , Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI
Eric Heiligenstein, MD , University Health Services, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI
Michael Fleming, MD, MPH , Dept of Family Medicine, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI
PURPOSE: This paper examines smoking and related health risks and behaviors among students at five universities in the U.S. and Canada.

METHODS: A Health Screening Survey (HSS) was completed by 2091 college and graduate school student volunteers seeking routine care at their university health centers. Independent variables were analyzed descriptively and in regression analyses with three levels of smoking (none, <1 cigarette per day, and >1 cigarette per day) and degree of tobacco dependence (based on morning craving to smoke) to determine predictors and associated risks.

RESULTS: Nearly a quarter (23%) of students reported current smoking, with 41% of them smoking less than one cigarette per day (cpd). Of those who smoked daily, 80% smoked fewer than 10 cpd, but almost half (45%) reported waking up in the morning wanting to smoke. Any smoking was associated with high-risk alcohol use, experience of emotional or physical abuse, depression, less exercise, and higher utilization of emergency and mental health services. In regression analyses, dependent smokers were more than twice as likely to be depressed (OR=2.32, p<.001) report emotional or physical abuse (OR=2.17, p<.001) or seek counseling for mental health issues (OR=2.07, p<.001), compared with non-dependent smokers.

CONCULSIONS: College students who smoke, even occasionally, are at risk for tobacco dependence and long-term sequelae of smoking, as well as more immediate harms due to associated health risks and behaviors. Health care providers have an opportunity to help students quit smoking and prevent or mitigate many of these adverse outcomes.

Learning Objectives:
Describe patterns of tobacco use and associated behavioral and other health risks among college students

Keywords: Ambulatory Care, Tobacco

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a physician, researcher and teacher at the University of Washington, focused on the prevention and treatment of tobacco dependence and related diseases for the last ten years.
Any relevant financial relationships? Yes

Name of Organization Clinical/Research Area Type of relationship
Pfizer, Inc Tobacco treatment

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.