Smoking behaviour, risk perception and attitudes toward anti-smoking legislation among a sample of South African students
This study sought to establish smoking behaviour, perceptions of health risks of smoking and attitudes toward anti-smoking legislation among a sample of South African university students. Undergraduates (225 women and 105 men) completed measures of behaviours, attitudes and perceptions related to smoking. The results showed that only 16% of the students reported to be smokers, of whom most were „coloured‟ females. Both smokers and non-smokers indicated knowledge of increased risks of smoking and supported the strict anti-smoking legislation that has been implemented in South Africa. However, smokers minimised their personal risk of smoking related ill effects. These results suggest that anti-smoking strategies should consider the optimistic bias among smokers that leads them to minimise their susceptibility to smoking related illnesses.
Key words: Smoking, tobacco, risk perception, anti-smoking legislation, students.