A new study by Trinity academics has called for better targeting of smoking prevention measures. The study, led by Dr. Gabrielle McKee of the School of Nursing and Midwifery, explores smoking and quitting behaviours among students. The study aims to assist College in developing ways to promote a smoke-free campus.
The study aims to “aid the implementation of a smoke-free campus”, collecting data about the smoking habits of just under 750 first and third year students from the Schools of Psychology, Biochemistry, and Nursing and Midwifery.
It found that over 19% of students were smokers, and that roughly half of those had attempted to quit in the previous year.
The study also found that smokers were more likely to live in their own accommodation, and that they were more likely to be at least 22 years old.
It noted that there were “significant differences in the behaviours and in the beliefs held by smokers and non-smokers”, particularly in perceptions of the health effects of smoking. While 74% of non-smokers agreed that tobacco is addictive, only 54% of smokers agreed. While 80% of non-smokers felt that people risk harming themselves by smoking on weekends or a few days per week, only 67% of smokers agreed.
It also referenced a previous survey undertaken by the college in 2013, in which 50% of students and 66% of staff indicated that they were in favour of a tobacco-free campus.
Awareness of support services offered by the college to students quitting smoking was low, with 60% of respondents saying that they did not know whether the services were adequate or inadequate.
The study wrote that these findings “indicate a need for greater targeting” of smoking prevention measures by the College, noting that awareness-raising campaigns which coincided with exams were especially ineffective. It suggested raising awareness of the risks of smoking as part of the induction process for students.