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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 321657, 9 pages
Research Article

Knowledge about Health Effects of Cigarette Smoking and Quitting among Italian University Students: The Importance of Teaching Nicotine Dependence and Treatment in the Medical Curriculum

1Department of Physiology and Pharmacology “V. Erspamer”, School of Medicine, Sapienza University of Rome, Piazzale Aldo Moro 5, 00185 Rome, Italy
2Department of Experimental and Clinical Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Udine, Piazzale S. Maria della Misericordia, 33100 Udine, Italy
3Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Section of Pharmacology, University of Verona, Policlinico G. B. Rossi, Piazzale Scuro 10, 36134 Verona, Italy
4Department of Public Health and Infectious Diseases, School of Medicine, Sapienza University of Rome, Piazzale Aldo Moro 5, 00185 Rome, Italy
5Department of Cardiology and Pneumology, University Hospital Göttingen, Robert-Koch-Strasse 40, 37075 Göttingen, Germany
6Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Health Behaviour Research Centre, University College London, 1-19 Torrington Place, London WC1E7HB, UK
7Division of Epidemiology, The Ohio State University College of Public Health, 1841 Neil Ave, 310 Cunz Hall, Columbus, OH 43210, USA
8Department of Pharmacology, School of Medicine, Catholic University of Rome, Largo F. Vito 1, 00168 Rome, Italy

Received 4 February 2014; Accepted 25 February 2014; Published 6 April 2014

Academic Editor: Giuseppe La Torre

Copyright © 2014 Maria Caterina Grassi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Aims of the study were to compare medical students (MS) to non-MS with respect to their knowledge of smoking and to investigate the effect of a short educational intervention on MS knowledge. MS and students of architecture and law were asked to complete a 60-item questionnaire addressing knowledge of smoking epidemiology and health effects (“Score 1”), and effectiveness of cessation treatments (“Score 2”). Upon completion of questionnaire, fourth year MS received a lecture on tobacco dependence. These students were asked to complete the same questionnaire one and two years later. Mean values for Score 1 were % in MS and % in non-MS ( ; ). Respective values for Score 2 were % and % ; . Fifth year students who had attended the lecture in year 4 scored higher than students who had not attended the lecture. Significant differences were noted one but not two years after the educational intervention. In conclusion, MS know slightly more about smoking-related diseases and methods to achieve cessation than nonmedical students; a short educational intervention was associated with better knowledge one year later, but the effect was moderate and short-lived.