Youngster smoking cigarette at roadside Betel Leaf Cabin, Photo by Yasir Kazmi, Karachi, Pakistan.
Over the past three decades, despite increased public knowledge regarding the adverse health effects of smoking, the majority of adolescents still experiment with cigarettes, and 89% of persons aged 30 through 39 years who ever smoked cigarettes on a daily basis reported having smoked their first cigarette by age of 18.4 The prevalence rate of smoking was 52.22%. Among various factors attributed towards smoking, the highest score was attributed to the burden of studies by all age groups (29.04%). Smoking is among several risk-taking behaviors associated with depression. 24.07% students reported that during the phase of depression, tobacco consumption was increased by 2-3 cigarettes per day as compared to their routine intake. Tobacco industries conduct very effective promotional campaigns to encourage adolescents to smoke. 41.30% students were facilitated by the media advertisement by different tobacco industries. Once addicted, smokers find it difficult to quit. The majority of respondents (72.86%) were well aware of the risk factors and consequences of smoking on health and they believed that smoking is neither good for their own health nor for the public around them. Only 25.8% of the respondents wanted to quit smoking and among them, only 12.9% had ever tried to quit smoking. Parents have an influence on whether or not their children will develop smoking habits. 29.75% of students had developed smoking habits as disciple of their fathers. Hence, 55.79% thought that smoking in public places is not a cultured practice. However, a majority of the students continued to smoke on roads, in restaurants, markets and malls. Smoking cessation is associated with clear health benefits and therefore should always be a major healthcare goal. None of the students had ever attended any seminar or educational campaign on smoking cessation.