1448PD_PR - Fighting against cigarette smoking among medical students- a success story

Date 01 October 2012
Event ESMO Congress 2012
Session Public health and familial cancer
Topics Cancer Aetiology, Epidemiology, Prevention
Patient Education
Presenter Fikri Icli
Authors F. Icli1, D. Caliskan2, I. Gonullu3, H. Akbulut1, A. Ozkan4, S. Olmez5, U. Gonullu6, K. Sunguroglu7
  • 1Department Of Medical Oncology, Ankara University School of Medicine, Ankara/TR
  • 2Public Health, Ankara University School of Medicine, Ankara/TR
  • 3Medical Education, Ankara University School of Medicine, Ankara/TR
  • 4Medical Oncology, Ankara University School of Medicine, Ankara/TR
  • 5Psychiatry, Ankara University School of Medicine, Ankara/TR
  • 6Pulmonology, Ankara University School of Medicine, Ankara/TR
  • 7Biochemistry, Ankara University School of Medicine, Ankara/TR

Abstract

Physicians are important role models for the society regarding common health and disease prevention. Therefore, being aware of the health hazards of cigarette smoking, physicians should not smoke. In the year 1997 we surveyed 215 medical students at Ankara University in Ankara, Turkey to assess the smoking rates and factors they account for smoking. We found that 25.1% of the students were smoking (29.5% of males and 22.6% of females). Moreover, smoking rate was 35% for the 6th year students (last year before graduation). We were sorry to find out that 60% of the smokers started smoking following admittance to medical school. Our sense of responsibility led us to establish a “Cigarette Fighting Group” composed of voluntary academic staff, nurses, students, psychologists and a social worker aimed to lower the smoking rate and to eliminate it eventually among our medical students. Because of the difficulties of abandoning smoking, our main strategy was prevention of starting smoking. Several methods used including regular monthly meetings and they will be elaborated at the ESMO presentation. Consequently, our surveys in the years 2009 (641 students) and 2012 (1737 students) showed that total smoking rates dropped to 15% and 11% respectively (p < 0.00001). Moreover, the smoking rate for 6th grade students dropped from 35% in 2007 to 21.8% and 8.8% in the years 2009 and 2012 respectively (p = 0.005). In 2012, the smoking rates of 1st year and 6th year students were 7.8% and 8.8%, respectively. These close rates of smoking at the beginning and the end of medical school and the significant drop in smoking rates in 5 years confirms that, our group pursued a realistic and successful strategy against smoking. Details of the surveys will be presented at ESMO meeting.

Disclosure

All authors have declared no conflicts of interest.