Context: Smoking incidence among youths in Nigeria is on the rise and cigarette smoking is considered one of the largest causes of preventable morbidity and mortality globally.
Aims: To assess the prevalence and awareness of cigarette smoking amongst undergraduates of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Settings and Design: This study was a cross-sectional and descriptive survey conducted among undergraduates in the University of Nigeria, Nsukka from June to August 2016. Methods and Material: Data were collected by the 44-item structured, self-administered questionnaire. Statistical Analysis used: The data were analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) for Windows version 16.0 (SPSS Inc, Version 16.0, Chicago, USA). P-value ≤ 0.05 was considered statistically significant.
Results: A total of 570 questionnaires were completed and returned. Only 49.6% of the students had adequate knowledge of cigarette smoking and its health implications while the same percentage had good attitudes (i.e., attitudes that could make them never smoke or quit smoking) towards cigarette smoking. Of the 180 students who claimed to have smoked cigarette before, one-fifth smoked on a daily basis. More students who resided off-campus had smoked cigarette before (36.5%) compared to those in hostels (25.7%) (χ2=7.594; df=1; P=0.006).
Conclusion: Approximately half of the respondents had good knowledge about cigarette smoking and its health implications. More than a fifth of the respondents had smoked cigarette before. Students who resided off campus exhibited a greater tendency to start smoking compared to those who resided in hostels on campus. Peer pressure and close associations could influence cigarette smoking habits.