Prevalence and factors influencing smoking behaviors among vocational and technical students in a North-Eastern Province of Thailand

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Anun Chaikoolvatana
Mereerat Manwong
Choladda Chaikoolvatana
Nawaporn Saisingh
Sukwasan Wongthanu
Mattana Kwangtong


Background : Since 2009, cigarette smoking among Thai population aged between 15 and 24 has been increasing. These people may have more chances of some disease complications caused by cigarette smoking than
non-smokers. Noticeably, these young smoking population are currently studying in high school, vocational, and technical levels. The previous surveys indicated no current data available regarding the prevalence of smoking among these vocational and technical students in the area.

Objective : The study aims to evaluate the prevalence and factors influencing smoking behavior of students in these two institutes.

Research : Design A cross sectional, descriptive study.

Setting : Technical and Vocational Ubon Ratchathani Schools, Ubon Ratchathani Province.

Methods : It is a cross-sectional, descriptive study. In total, there were 302 participants divided into a vocational group (152) and a technical group (150). All participants filed out a questionnaire paper using a rating scale. The relationships between variables were statistically analyzed via descriptive and analytical measurements.

Results : The results from both institutes indicated the participants were approximately 17 years of age with an average GPA below 3.00. Also, the percentages of smoking fathers in the technical group was 68 and 31.6 in the vocational. Closed friends of technical and vocational groups smoked 48 and 48.7 percents consecutively. Siblings of both groups smoked 26.7 percent (technical group) and 36.2 percent (vocational group). The prevalence of cigarette smoking between the two groups was 6.2 and 1.4 percents, consecutively. The majority were non-smokers. Regarding the mean scores related to attitudes towards smoking, we found that both groups had high scores ( >3.51). However, the mean scores of both groups related to selfesteem were low but with significant differences ( ≤ 2.5) (p <0.001). The factors influencing smoking behavior included types of schools, genders, accommodations, marital status of the parents, and attitudes towards smoking.

Conclusion : The prevalence of smoking in both vocational and technical schools was low, but the figure of the vocational group was higher than the technical group (6.2, and 1.4 percents consecutively). Nevertheless,
there were still some factors that influenced smoking habit including, closed persons, family conditions, peers. So the knowledge provision, family responsibility, and good social environment could protect the students from smoking. Also, rules and regulations regarding smoking in schools need to be restrictive and well enforced.

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