Objective In view of the high-smoking rate among university students in Lebanon and the known adverse effects of second-hand smoking, the American University of Beirut (AUB) decided to implement a non-smoking policy on campus. This study sought to examine the students’ compliance and attitudes following the ban.
Design Cross-sectional study.
Setting A private university in Lebanon.
Participants 545 randomly selected students were approached. A stratified cluster sample of classes offered in the spring semester of the 2008/2009 academic year was selected. Students completed a self-administered paper and pencil survey during class time.
Primary and secondary outcome measures The main outcomes were compliance with and attitudes towards the ban. Other secondary outcomes were the perception of barriers to implementation of the ban and attitudes towards tobacco control in general.
Results 535 students participated in the study. Smokers were generally compliant with the ban (72.7%) and for some (20%) it led to a decrease in their smoking. Students' attitude towards the ban and the enforcement of a non-smoking policy in public places across Lebanon varied according to their smoking status whereby non-smokers possessed a more favourable attitude and strongly supported such policies compared with smokers; overall, the largest proportions of students were satisfied to a large extent with the ban and considered it justified (58.6% and 57.2%, respectively). While much smaller percentages reported that the ban would help in reducing smoking to a large extent (16.7%) or it would help smokers quit (7.4%). Perceived barriers to implementation of the non-smoking policy in AUB included the lack of compliance with and strict enforcement of the policy as well as the small number and crowdedness of the smoking areas.
Conclusions An education campaign, smoking cessation services and strict enforcement of the policy might be necessary to boost its effect in further reducing students' cigarette use.
- PUBLIC HEALTH
- STATISTICS & RESEARCH METHODS
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