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Nursing Students More Likely to Light Up

They face greater risk than medical students, study finds

TUESDAY, Oct. 21, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- An American study says nursing students are more likely than medical students to smoke cigarettes and to be more nicotine-dependent.

The study, in the October issue of CHEST, found four times as many nursing students smoke cigarettes as medical students and almost twice as many nursing students are former smokers.

It also found the rate of medical students who smoke has sharply declined in the last decade and that medical students who do smoke are less nicotine-dependent than nursing students who smoke.

The Thomas Jefferson University study included 397 medical students and 126 nursing students. It found that 13.5 percent of nursing students smoked cigarettes compared with 3.3 percent of medical students. Also, 17.4 percent of nursing students and 9.8 percent of medical students considered themselves former smokers.

Studies done in the 1990s indicated a 15 percent to 25 percent smoking rate among nursing students and a 2 percent to 10 percent smoking rate among medical students.

In this new study, women accounted for 89.7 percent of the nursing students who smoked compared, with 57.6 percent of the medical students who smoked.

"The decrease in the number of medical students smoking cigarettes is encouraging. It seems that the decision to begin training to be future doctors may make medical students more aware of the need to quite in order to appear as good role models to patients and the public," lead author Dr. Ashwin A. Patkar, from the department of psychiatry and human behavior at Jefferson Medical College, says in a prepared statement.

"Gender differences could partially explain the smoking variations between medical and nursing students, but nursing students may be less aware of their role and responsibilities to provide smoking cessation treatment than medical students," Patkar says.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about the health dangers of smoking.

SOURCE: American College of Chest Physicians, news release, Oct. 13, 2003
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