BACKGROUND : The prevalence of alcohol consumption and
smoking among university students is high.
AIM : To determine the knowledge, attitudes and practices of
alcohol consumption and smoking among undergraduate oral
health students at a South African university.
METHODS : A cross-sectional study was conducted among dental
and oral hygiene students (n=344) who were registered at
a South African University in 2015. A self-administered questionnaire
was used to collect information on socio-demographic
characteristics, knowledge, attitudes and practices regarding
consumption of alcohol and smoking. Data analysis included
frequencies and correlations using chi-square tests,at a level of
significance of p<0.05.
RESULTS : A total of 269 (78%) students agreed to participate.
The mean age was 22 years and 74% were female. More than
a third (41%) reported consuming alcohol regularly while 11%
reported being current smokers. More males reported indulging
in both habits as compared with females.
More than half felt that alcohol was acceptable as a social drink.
The majority of clinical students (86%) associated periodontal
diseases with smoking compared with pre-clinical students
CONCLUSION : The overall knowledge on social and health implications
of excessive consumption of alcohol and smoking was
adequate. The majority associated alcohol consumption and
smoking with social activity.