martín v., molina a.j., fernández d., fernández t., de abajo s. & delgado m. (2011) Effectiveness of a course on the prevention and control of the smoking habit on its prevalence and incidence among students of health sciences. Journal of Advanced Nursing67(4), 747–755.
Aim. This paper is a report of the effectiveness of a tobacco use prevention and control course on health sciences students’ smoking prevalence and incidence.
Background. Although it is known that the intervention of health professionals in their patients’ tobacco use can be affected by their own habit, very few studies have analysed the effect of specific tobacco-oriented training on smoking among health science students.
Methods. This study is a quasi-experimental study of community intervention. During the years 2005–2008, a total of 290 health science students on the intervention campus and 256 on the control campus took part in the study. In the former, the intervention consisted of a course on the prevention and control of tobacco use for students, which was not offered on the control campus. Data about tobacco use and socio-demographic variables were collected by means of a questionnaire before and 6 months after the intervention.
Results. Prevalence of tobacco use decreased in the intervention group (−1·1%) and increased in the control group (1·5%). The risk of acquiring the habit was almost three times higher in the control group than in the intervention group and the probability of cessation was 40% higher in the intervention group and correlated with nicotine dependence.
Conclusion. The intervention suggests the effect on habit acquisition was slight but not so on cessation. Preventive interventions should be carried out before students go to university, while more specific cessation programmes are required to reduce tobacco use among students.