Background: Tobacco use is one of the important preventable causes of death
and a leading public health problem all over the world. Multiple factors are involved
in the initiation of smoking in adolescents and young adults. Adolescents may incorrectly
believe that cigarette smoking is less risky than other behaviors, such as alcohol
consumption and drug use, and they do not understand the short-term effect and addictive
nature of smoking. Objectives: The main objective of the study was to find out the
perceived physical risks, social risks, addiction risks and perceived benefits of
smoking among adolescents. Method: A descriptive cross sectional study was conducted
among 100 adolescents using stratified random sampling and self-administered questionnaire.
In order to assess the perceived risks and benefits of smoking, questionnaire developed
by Song et al. and Halpern-Felsher et al. was used. Results: Among 100 adolescents,
38 were female. The mean perceived risk was 60% and mean perceived benefit was 32%.
There was a significant difference between age and perceived physical risks, social
risks and benefits of smoking. Perceived benefits of smoking had a significant difference
with educational level and smoking behavior of respondents as well. Conclusion:
Adolescents perceive both risks and benefits of smoking. In order to discourage
or prevent adolescents from initiating smoking, future intervention programs should
focus on communicating not only the health risks but also the social and addiction
risks as well as counteract the benefits associated with smoking. There is a felt
need for smoking cessation program and necessity for school based smoking prevention
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