|dc.description.abstract||A descriptive study of cigarette smoking in a sample of Indian matriculation students was undertaken in Northern Kwa-Zulu Natal in order to establish the prevalence of cigarette smoking; reasons for developing cigarette smoking behaviour; to determine knowledge about and attitudes to cigarette smoking and also to establish students' awareness of antismoking
organisations and to make recommendations based on the findings.
Data was collected by the researcher who administered questionnaires at various schools previously under the jurisdiction of the House of Delegates, in the towns of Newcastle, Dannhauser, Glencoe and Dundee. There were 55 smokers in the sample (N =326), ie., a prevalence rate of 16,9%. Among the males 52 (36,1%) were smokers and 3 (1,8%) females smoked. Fifty four (98,2%) smokers had commenced smoking above the age of 10 years. Twenty seven (53%) smoked at home and 12 (24%) smoked at school.
Experimentation occured among 46 (83,6%) smokers prior to actual smoking with 52 (94,5%) smokers having friends who also smoked. Advertisements influenced 10 (18,2%) smokers while 11 (20%) were influenced by teachers and 9 (16,7%) were influenced by family members. Smokers received more pocket money than non-smokers. More family
members of the smokers were also smokers as opposed to non-smokers.
Fourty nine (89,1%) smokers believed that smoking was harmful to themselves while 41 (74,5%) said it was also harmful to others. The association between smoking and lung cancer was well known by 49 (90,7%) smokers but the association with heart disease and other cancers was not as well known. There was very little awareness among both smokers and non-smokers about anti-smoking programmes and organisations. Alarmingly there was hardly any formal health education
on the dangers of smoking in schools. The conclusions are that the prevalence of cigarette smoking among Indian matriculants in the study area was 16,9% and that teachers, friends, family members and advertisements are influential in cigarette smoking behaviour. There is a need for education on the dangers of smoking in schools; and parents and teachers must take congnisance about smoking at home and in schools.||en