Nursing students smoke twice as much as general population, Italian survey finds

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More than half of nursing students are current or former smokers, according to the results of a recent survey in Italy.

Researchers at the Department of Public Health at the University of Milan in Italy asked 812 nursing students about their current and past smoking habits. Approximately 44% reported that they are current smokers, while an additional 12% admitted to a past smoking addiction. The average rate of smoking in Italy is 22%, according to the researchers. The U.S. has a similar smoking rate in the general population—21%, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—but little data exists on the rate of smoking among nursing students.

The report suggests incorporating smoking cessation programs into nurse education. As healthcare professionals, nurses are well poised to help the general population understand the dangers of smoking, argued researcher Anna Maria Tortorano, professor at the University of Milan. This task becomes more difficult when the nurses themselves are smokers. The report appears in the January issue of the Journal of Advanced Nursing.


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