Tobacco in adolescence: importance to knowledge the health hazards and preventive measures
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Objective: To contribute to the development of prevention tools by identifying the pattern of tobacco use, knowledge about tobacco-related diseases and media tools that are popular among adolescents. Material and Method: In a cross-sectional study, sixty adolescents (41.7% smokers, 28.3% ex-smokers and 30% never smokers) attending the secondary level of a public school (Botucatu, São Paulo, Brazil) were interviewed using a standardized questionnaire. The Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) was applied to all subjects. The Fagerström score and motivation to give up smoking (Prochaska e DiClemente) were evaluated in smokers. Results: The mean age was 15.8 ± 1.1 years old, and 65% were female. Among the smokers, 60% were girls and among ex-smokers, 59%. A high proportion of smokers and ex-smokers had used alternative forms of tobacco such as narghile (52.4%) and flavored cigarettes (54.8%). A very low proportion of the adolescents associated smoking with cardiovascular disease (1.7%), neurological problems (1.7%), heart disease (5%), dental problems (5%), skin aging (5%) and even cancer (36.7%). The majority of smokers (96%) and ex-smokers (88.2%) had low nicotine dependence, 76.1% of them did not consider themselves addicted to nicotine and stated that they could stop whenever they wanted. Internet accessed by computer was the favorite media tool for 58.3% of the adolescents. Conclusions: Use of alternative forms of smoking is high, and the knowledge about the consequences of any tobacco consumption is very poor and sometimes misleading among adolescents. Our data indicate that personalized internet tools should be developed to gain the interest of adolescents in smoking prevention and cessation.