Nursing students' attitudes, behaviour, and knowledge toward smoking cessation: Results from a descriptive survey at a regional university

Publication Name

Nurse Education Today


Background: Smoking is the largest single cause of lifestyle-related preventable morbidity and mortality. Nurses form the largest cohort of health professionals and are strategically placed to implement smoking cessation interventions. However their capacity is underutilised, particularly in rural and remote areas in countries such as Australia where the incidence of smoking in is higher than average and access to healthcare is limited. One strategy to address the underutilisation of nurses in smoking cessation interventions is to include training in the university/college nursing curriculum. To effectively implement this training, it is vital to have an in-depth knowledge of student nurses' attitudes towards smoking including the role of healthcare professionals in smoking cessation, their smoking behaviour and that of their peers, and knowledge regarding smoking cessation techniques and resources. Objectives: Investigate nursing students' attitudes, behaviour, and knowledge towards smoking cessation, determine the impact of demographics and educational experienced on these, and develop recommendations for future research and educational practice. Design: Descriptive survey. Participants: Non-probability sample of undergraduate nursing students (n = 247) from a regional Australian university. Results: Significantly more participants had tried smoking cigarettes than had not (p = 0.026). There were no significant relationships between gender and smoking (p = 0.169) or e-cigarette use (p = 0.200), but a significant relationship was found between age and smoking status where older participants (48–57 years) were more likely to smoke (p < 0.001). Most participants (70 %) were supportive of public health measures to reduce cigarette smoking but felt that they lacked specific knowledge to assist their patients to cease smoking. Conclusions: Within education there needs to be an emphasis on the central role that nurses play in smoking cessation with a greater focus on training nursing students about smoking cessation strategies and resources. There is also a need to ensure that students know it falls within their duty of care to address smoking cessation with patients.

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Funding Sponsor

University of Wollongong



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