Title

Characteristics of smokers and their knowledge about smoking at a teaching hospital in Karachi

Document Type

Article

Department

Family Medicine

Abstract

Objective: To study the characteristics of smokers and their knowledge about smoking, among Family Practice Patients, at a teaching hospital in Karachi, Pakistan. Main outcome measures: Age at starting smoking, duration and number of cigarettes smoked, started smoking under influence of friends, colleagues, family members or self motivation, number of friends and colleagues who smoked, whether smoking is unhealthy, and actual chance of harm to an individual due to smoking is very rare or not.
Results: One hundred patients who visited Family Practice Center were interviewed. Sixty one percent were young married men, well educated and either student, in private service, self employed or unemployed. Eighty-four (84%) smokers started smoking between 16-25 years of age, and smoked 6-20 cigarettes daily for two to twenty five years. Sixty-nine (69%) of them started smoking under the influence of friends and had 3-5 friends and colleagues who smoked. 91% of smokers believed that smoking is unhealthy and were aware that it causes lung cancer and heart disease. Majority of them (69%) believed that the actual harm of smoking to an individual is not very rare.
Conclusion: We have documented the characteristics of smokers and their knowledge about smoking among Family Practice patients. Majority of the respondents started smoking at a young age under the influence of friends though they were aware of its harmful effects. Though the sample size is small but it does give an indication about the responsible factors to plan interventional preventive strategies.

Publication

Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences