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The 13th World Conference on Tobacco OR Health
Building capacity for a tobacco-free world
July 12-15, 2006, Washington, DC, USA
Objective: There is a well-established relationship between US physicians' personal heath habits and their prevention counseling practices. We hypothesized a similar relationship for Cambodian medical students.
Methods: Medical students' tobacco, alcohol and exercise patterns have never been studied comprehensively prior to the Healthy Doc – Healthy Patient (HDHP) study in 17 US schools (1998-2003). Our project modified and translated the HDHP questionnaire for the Cambodian, Buddhist culture using medical student focus groups and obtained local Ethical Committee approval. Students signed a consent form, completed an anonymous, self-administered, 93-item questionnaire and were tested for expired carbon monoxide (Bedfont Micro III Smokerlyzer).
Results: We tested the last four classes of medical students (330/464, 71.1%) between February and October 2005. Tobacco use (26/330, 7.87%) is almost entirely a male phenomenon (24/223, 10.8% vs. 2/107, 1.87%). Daily smoking began after age 20 in 75% of smokers. Smokers and non-smokers agreed that smoking is harmful (97.3%) and wanted a smoke-free campus (92.7%). Over half of smokers (11/20, 55%) said they smoked to reduce sorrow and depression.
More than half (58.2%) never drink alcohol (192/330). Of those who drink, 18.5% reported using alcohol on >3 days in the last month (61/330), and 10.9% had more than 5 drinks/episode in the last month (36/330). Ever smokers (63.9%) were more likely to drink than never smokers (14.6%).
Relationships of personal risk behaviors, counseling practices and gender/cultural norms for exercise habits, alcohol and tobacco use will be correlated and compared to results from the HDHP study in US medical students.