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  • Subject area(s): Marketing
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  • Published on: 14th September 2019
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Determination of Factors Impacting on Smoking Habits of University Students: An Empirical Analysis from Turkey

Ahmet Semih UZUNDUMLU1 and Yavuz TOPCU2

Department of Agricultural Economics, Collage of Agriculture, Ataturk University, Erzurum/Turkey.

E-mail: 1asu[email protected], [email protected]

KEYWORDS Bayburt University.  Economic Loss. Health Effects. Tobacco Using.

ABSTRACT  The aim of this study is to determine the main factors impacting on cigarette smoking habits of university students. In order to achieve this aim, the primary data obtained from face to face questionnaire conducted with 260 university students were used for Zero Altered Poisson Regression Model. The results of the study indicated that the students' age ranged 18-35 years and 55.4 percent of them were women. Besides, 23.0 percent of the total students smoked, and 83.3 percent of them were men. Average monthly cigarette consumption amount were 5 packs per student. The results highlighted that of 19 factors the effected on smoking, 16 were statistically significant. If the prohibitions applied by government on smoking are implemented, and cigarette taxes are increased, it could be decreased smoking rates of young people. By being conducted effective companies related to public health on social and real media, smoking rate could be decreased considerably.   


Cigarette is a product made from tobacco leaves, thin paper and filter manufactured by using machine for smoking (Anonymous 2015a). Tobacco leaves rolled in thin paper and then they as a cigarette are packed in twenties bunched. A cigarette is used by the consumers by being burned, and then they inhale and exhaled smoke of cigarette by means of their mouth. There are 4000 chemical in cigarette, and these chemicals include the substances such as nicotine, carbon monoxide, acrolein, and oxidant (Mudhovozi and Nyanga 2015; Csordas and Bernhard 2013; Seget et al. 2011). Over 1.3 percent of these chemicals are carcinogenic substances (Seget et al. 2011).

According to World Health Organization (WHO), in recent years, about 50.0 percent of cigarette smokers have died from the tobacco-related diseases (WHO 2013 and 2008). Cigarette exposes the health problems for not only the cigarette smokers but also the passive smokers who don't used cigarette, but are found with smokers in the same environment. Actually, approximately 1.0 percent of passive smokers have died from the ones, and 61.0 percent of these dying persons are the children (Ossip 2013; Oberg et al. 2011). Proportion of households with at least one individual in smoking habit is 54.2 percent, and with at least one child (0-17 years) is 33.8 percent in 2013 (TURKSTAT 2015).

Smoking rate was reported as 48.0 and 15.0 percent for men and women in the worldwide in 2010s, respectively (Iovino et al. 2012). According to Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS), approximately 16 million people used the tobacco products, and smoking rate was 31.2 percent in Turkey in 2008. Also, these proportions for men and women were 47.9 and 15.2 percent, respectively (GATS 2010). In Turkey in 2012, on the other hand, about 14.8 million people (27.1%) used tobacco products, and smoking proportion for men and women were calculated as 41.5 percent and 13.1 percent, respectively (GATS 2014).  Compared the smoking rates in 2008 and 2012, smoking tendency decreased considerably.   The most important factors on this decreasing were the cigarette smoking prohibition in all indoor spaces in Turkey since May 19, 2008 (Anonymous 2015a), mandatory pictorial warnings added on cigarette packs, and cigarette prices raised by Turkish government (GATS 2014).

While smoking rate has decreased generally in developed countries, it has also increased steadily for women and children in developing countries in recent years. Therefore, cigarette marketers have developed the effective marketing tactics and strategies for women and young people in developing countries (Gil-Lacruz et al. 2015). The first international tobacco control treaty as “Framework Convention on Tobacco Control” was signed in Geneva on May 21, 2003. This legally binding treaty given the powerful new tools to the nations to protect the health of their citizens from the tobacco industry's deceptions and slick marketing (Oguzturk and Gulcu 2012; Anonymous 2015b). As a result of this treaty, the Ministry of Health in Turkey prepared “National Tobacco Control Program Action Plan”, and implemented it immediately. The main goal of this program was to increase the rates of non-smokers over and under 15 years to 80.0 and 100.0 percent until 2010 years in Turkey, respectively (Oguzturk and Gulcu 2012).

However, smoking rates have started to rise again after 2012 years in Turkey due to the deficiencies in the application of the laws preventing smoking, and the inefficiency of local public controls with regard to smoking. Especially, smoking habits among young people, therefore, has started to increase critically. They were stimulated to smoke by the most important motivation sources under the effects of references groups such as their families, collage friends/mates, role-model persons, etc.

Their smoking rates have increased considerably their exposed expenditure rates within total disposable income. Total cost of their smoking includes not only the cigarette materials but also the medical expenditures undertaken with smoking. When considered only their cigarette material expenditure per households in 2013, their total cigarette material cost was calculated as $197.8 ($53.5*3.7 persons) with average $53.5 expenditure per capita. This value calculated for only cigarette material was approximately half of the minimum wage ($404.7) in Turkey (TURKSTAT 2015). When added the medical expenditures to this cost calculated, total cost of smoking has reached to higher figures for young people in recent years. In order to eliminate the cost pressures on national economy, and to provide a more healthy population; the governments have always cautioned the young smokers by means of effective anti-smoking campaigns by administering controlled the laws preventing smoking.   

In recent studies conducted by some researchers, it were argued that the young smokers must be often warned by anti-smoking campaigns, and it should be also cut the links with their reference groups stimulated by motivating their smoking. Actually, the results of the studies conducted by Gil-Lacruz et al. (2015) and Mansour et al. (2015) reported that the increasing rate smoking of young and women were worrisome, and thus they should be informed about the adverse health effects of cigarette under several campaigns carried out the governments. On the other hand; it were highlighted that the religious beliefs, the most respected persons, parents and friends' smoking attitudes and behaviors were strongly associated with students' smoking (Mansour et al. 2015; Mudhovozi and Niyanga 2015; Akl et al. 2013; Rhodes and Ewoldsen 2009; Kear 2002; Whooley et al. 2002).

In light of all these results, determining the core motivation sources of young smokers is of paramount importance to conduct the effective anti-smoking campaigns preventing their smoking. This study was, therefore, planned to determinate the factors effecting on smoking habits of the university students, and then to make some recommendations to university students, and to help them reduce their smoking by considering these factors.

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