The previous studies described in the literature review relate to the research being conducted on the tobacco smoking habits among nursing students and the influence of family and peer smoking behavior. Intheliteraturereview, the statistics on the tobacco smoking for both men and women are provided. This statistics indicates the severity of tobacco smoking and indicates the need for intervention. The literature review also discusses risks associated with the tobacco smoking. Smoking of tobacco in mothers has adverse consequences on the health of both mother and the child. There are several diseases including respiratory and lung diseases, cardiovascular diseases, chronic obstruction, cataracts, pulmonary diseases, cataracts, difficulty in smoking cessation, and even death which come as a result of smoking the tobacco (Biraghi and Tortorano, 2010).
Information on the effects of the tobacco smoking is significant in this research as it indicates the importance of controlling the tobacco smoking habits among the nursing students given the alarming statistics on tobacco smoking and the adverse effects this vice can have on health of the nursing students. Furthermore, theliteraturereview section contains information on how to quit tobacco smoking which can be applied to the case of nursing students engaged in tobacco smoking to help them quit smoking (Biraghi and Tortorano, 2010).
From the literature reviewed, friends have a significant impact on the decision by those engaged in tobacco smoking to either quit or continue smoking. In order to tackle the issue of smoking habits among the nursing students, they should be advised to avoid friends who smoke. The literature has also focused on the significance of smoking prevention in the healthcare profession. Health care professionals including nurses and physicians have a major role to play in terms of assisting individuals to understand the health and life consequences of smoking (Biraghi and Tortorano, 2010).
Smoking healthcare professionals can give inconsistent messages to the smoking patients thereby decreasing the effectiveness of anti-smoking campaigns. It is therefore recommended that medical and nursing students have to receive an adequate education. This information is important in the control of tobacco smoking habits among the nursing students in this research. In order to reduce the tobacco smoking among nursing students, they will be educated on the consequences of the tobacco smoking during their first year of admission (Biraghi and Tortorano, 2010).
In this study, the research population consisted of nursing students enrolled at Milan University who were scattered in different hospitals throughout the city as well as in the neighborhood areas where learning took place. Nursingstudentswhoparticipated in this research were attending a three-year full-time course at the university during the academic years 2006-2007 and 2007-2008. A total of 944 nursing students took part in the survey. However, only 820 students filled in the self-administered questionnaires and only 812 questionnaires were valid (Biraghi and Tortorano, 2010).
In this research, data was collected using self administered and structured questionnaires which were distributed to the students during the first month of the first year of the course. These questionnaires were filled in by 820 nursing students even though eight of them were excluded because their answers were incomplete. The questionnaire used for collecting the data in this research had sections on; the demographic and professional background of the respondent, tobacco smoking personal history, family smoking history, and friends smoking history. There were four categories of smokers; the daily smoker, occasional smoker, ex-smokers, and non-smokers. For smokers, information on the number of cigarettes smoked daily and the starting age of smoking were recorded. For ex-smokers, information on the starting and quitting age of smoking as well as the reasons for quitting smoking was recorded (Biraghi and Tortorano, 2010).
Findings of the Nursing Research Conducted
BiraghiandTortorano (2010) found out that 44% of the 812 students who were interviewed were tobacco smokers with 7% being ex-smokers. From the percentage of smoking students; 75% reported having at least one smoking parent, 47% reported having at least one smoking brother or sister, and 87% reported having seen smoking friends. Smoking habits occurred more in males than females as there were 53% of male smokers against 39% female smokers. Italian students were more engaged in smoking habits than the foreign students. The mean age at which the students started smoking was 16.5 years. However, males started smoking earlier than their female counterparts (Biraghi and Tortorano, 2010).
A large percentage of smoking students (66%) smoked on a daily basis. Intermsofthe number of cigarettes smoked per day, 36.8% smoked less than five cigarettes per day whereas 4.2% smoked more than twenty cigarettes per day. Among the non-smokers, 56% had mainly smoked and had started at the average age of 16.4 years and quitted at 23 years. In this research, those who quitted smoking indicated that they did so because of the knowledge they received on smoking related damages (55.4%), health problems (28.6%), pregnancy and high cost of cigarettes. Smokingoccurredin 42.9% of the unemployed students and 42.9% of the employed students with a lower smoking rate being recorded among the healthcare workers. There were statistically significant differences between the health workers and the non-health workers (Biraghi and Tortorano, 2010).
Importance of the Topic and its Relevance to Nursing Practice
There is a high prevalence of smoking among the nursing students and it will play an important rolein the future healthcare profession. There is therefore a need for effective anti-smoking programs in order to reduce the number of smoking healthcare professionals. Education action which relates to the prevention of smoking, treatment of smoking and promotion of health behavior should therefore be implemented during the early stages of nursing studies. Decreasingthenumberof smoking health care professionals will discourage people from smoking through giving them consistent messages on the consequences of smoking thereby increasingthe credibility of anti-smoking campaigns (Biraghi and Tortorano, 2010).
How Nurses Might Apply the Findings of the Research to Practice
Nursesareconstantlyin contact with individuals who are more susceptible to the risks associated with smoking. Nurses have to set a good example because their example is potentially highly effective in either encouraging or discouraging individuals from smoking. They can use the information in this research to help people understand the consequences of smoking on health and life. In addition, nurses can help smokers in quitting the smoking habit through counseling and treatment. Nurses can organize anti-smoking campaigns which involve teachers for the purpose of promoting health behaviorofchildren aged 16 years and above on the dangers of smoking which will discourage them from engaging in smoking in the future. Nurses can also educate parents to deal with the smoking members in the family who may influence students to start smoking (Biraghi and Tortorano, 2010).
Potential Difficulties which Could be Encountered in Implementing the Research Findings
In implementing the research findings, one of the potential difficulties which will be encountered is smoking friends. Studentswhohavesmoking friends will experience difficulties in quitting smoking because they will be tempted by their friends and may even be offered cigarettes. Other than the institutional help and professional advice offered by nurses, external support from friends is significant in quitting smoking. In order to quit smoking, the smokers require the willpower, motivation and self confidence which are internal factors and therefore nurses have limited or no control over them. Other difficulties which may be encountered include the association with alcohol and social situations, stress, psychological and physical addiction, and work pressure (Willcox, 1997).