Tobacco (66) Q2. Do health workers have adequate knowledge to prevent and treat tobacco addiction? (6)

22 March, 2023

Citation, abstract, extracts and comments/questions below, on the subject of smoking among medical students (and other health professionals).

CITATION: Cigarette smoking among medical students in The National Ribat University, Sudan

Osman E O Elamin,corresponding author(1) Sara E O Elamin,(1) Badr Altamam A Dafalla,(1) Mohamed E. El-Amin,(2) and Adil A Elsiddig(3)


'The problem of smoking among medical students is common worldwide, but the pattern and extent of the problem varies from place to place. Data from Sudanese medical students is limited. The aims of study was to know the extent of the problem of smoking among medical students, its routes and how it can be reduced. All students in the first and fifth year in the Faculty of Medicine, The National Ribat University were asked to fill a questionnaire regarding their knowledge and practice of smoking and when they started smoking. The questionnaire inquired about the role of their peers and the staff to help them stop smoking. Two hundred and forty (96%) of the first year students and 174 (94%) of the fifth year students responded by filling the questionnaires. Around 10 % of all students smoke. Although non-smokers knew much about the problems of smoking, many of the smokers did not. The main influence on students to start smoking was from parents, siblings and friends. Eighty per cent of the smokers are willing to give up smoking and they tried many times. The study showed that little effort was made by the University Staff to help students stop smoking. Most students started smoking in the high secondary schools. There is a need for family community and institutional campaign to contain the problem of smoking.'


Despite the responsibility that physicians have towards their smoking patients, research suggests medical students still do not receive adequate training. A worldwide survey of tobacco curricula revealed that only 11% of medical schools had devoted specific teaching time to tobacco and smoking cessation

In a recent study, Raupach and colleagues [20] assessed the knowledge of medical students from two European cities: London (UK) and Göttingen (Germany)... Less than a third of medical students felt able to counsel smoking patients. The authors concluded that current curricula about tobacco dependence and control in medical schools need to be improved.

The students mentioned that they continued to smoke because of life and academic pressures. Most students started smoking with 2 cigarettes per day and they remained at a rate of less than 7 cigarettes per day.


1. What is the prevalence of smoking among medical students in your country? And what is the prevalence among doctors and other health professionals? Community health workers?

2. I remember when I was a medical student in the UK in the late 70s and early 80s, smokers would typically have at least 10 cigarettes per day. Is there a correlation between the number of cigarettes smoked per day, and the country?

3. Can anyone give examples of education of medical students ablout the risks of smoking, how to counsel patients against smoking? What else is needed to encourage and support students to quit?

Best wishes, Neil

Joint Coordinator, HIFA Mental Health: Substance use disorders

HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of HIFA (Healthcare Information For All), a global health community that brings all stakeholders together around the shared goal of universal access to reliable healthcare information. HIFA has 20,000 members in 180 countries, interacting in four languages and representing all parts of the global evidence ecosystem. HIFA is administered by Global Healthcare Information Network, a UK-based nonprofit in official relations with the World Health Organization. Email: