Background: Tobacco is the second cause of death; its usage, especially in the form of cigarettes is alarmingly increasing, especially among young age group. The current study was conducted to assess the pattern, knowledge, and attitude of smoking among medical students in Tabuk, Saudi Arabia.
Methodology: This cross-sectional study conducted was among 287 students in the Medical College, Tabuk, Saudi Arabia during the period from March 2016 to April 2017. The participants responded to a structured questionnaire enquiring about demographic data, class, type, frequency, and duration of the smoking, the age when smoking started, and the desire to quit. Apart from this, data were also collected regarding the attitude toward smoking at home, in public places, or next to non-smokers to assess the students attitude. Students t-test was used to compare smokers and non-smokers.
Results: Among the total participants (64.5% males), 22% were either smokers or ex-smokers, nearly half were passive smokers, 95.8% were aware of the harmful effects of smoking, the majority of smokers had the desire to quit smoking. Non-smokers had a more positive attitude toward smoking at home, in public places, and around non-smokers with a highly significant statistical difference, smoking peaked in the third class and was seen more common among males (p-value < 0.001).
Conclusion: The majority of students knew the harmful effects of smoking, had a desire to quit smoking, and a positive attitude regarding the measures to prevent passive smoking but this attitude was not translated to practice as indicated by the high rate of passive smoking.
Key words: Smoking, pattern, attitude, medical students, Saudi Arabia