Smoking prevalence, knowledge, attitudes and beliefs about health risks of tobacco smoking among female Psychology 1 students at the University of the Western Cape
Tobacco smoking is the second major cause of preventable deaths in South Africa. The Western Cape has the second highest smoking rates in South Africa and the highest smoking rate among young women. Previous studies indicate that female smokers are more vulnerable to the harmful effects of smoking than males. The aim of this study was to investigate the knowledge, attitudes and beliefs regarding health risks of tobacco use among female undergraduate students at the University of the Western Cape. A sample of 210 female psychology 1 students were recruited and served as research participants. Data was collected using a self-administered questionnaire adapted from instruments measuring knowledge, attitudes and beliefs regarding the health risks of tobacco smoking. Descriptive and Inferential statistics were used to analyse the data. The Health Belief Model was used as the theoretical framework for this study. The results showed a 20% prevalence of smoking among the students. Differences were found among smoking and non-smoking participants regarding their knowledge, attitudes and beliefs about the health risks of tobacco smoking. The results of the study may inform smoking prevention and intervention strategies aimed at female students on campus.