Objectives: To determine the smoking prevalence and its determinants in students at Cukurova
University, Southern Turkey.
Design: The sample was selected from the first and final year students of all faculties in Cukurova University. The students who were present on the day of the survey were all included in the study. The students filled in an anonymous questionnaire detailing their sociodemographic characteristics and smoking behaviour. A random sample of 2200 students in Cukurova University was enrolled in the study representing a total of 8309 students for this random cross-sectional study. The response rate was 90.9% (n = 2131). A self-administered questionnaire was completed by all students. Outcome measures were smoking prevalence, family and peer smoking, grade, gender and place of living that may be related to smoking. Logistic regression was used to examine the determinants of smoking behaviour.
Results: Smoking increased between the ages of 13 and 17 years (26.6% and 43.7%, respectively). The smoking behaviour of best friends was the most powerful determinant of smoking, and this was consistent across the age groups. Best friends’ attitudes towards smoking and family members’smoking behaviour were also important determinants of smoking.
Conclusions: Smoking prevalence among students in Cukurova University, in Southern Turkey, is high. Effective smoking prevention programmes should take into account the dominant influence of peers on the onset and maintenance of smoking behaviour. School-related items had a less important role in predicting smoking behaviour than expected.