Faculty of Public Health - Andalas University - OCS, 13th IEA SEA Meeting and ICPH - SDev

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Influence of Social Media and Peer Group on Smoking among Selected Public & Private University Students in Urban Dhaka
Naym Uddin Roby

Last modified: 2018-08-27


Background: Smoking is of the major life style risk factors for many health conditions and a major public health problem. Smoking among university students is an issue of concern. Previous study shown that smoking initiation is related to peer group influence and social media advertisements.  Social media sites like Facebook, Youtube are very popular among young generation and Tobacco Companies are using social media and peer influence smartly. This study aims to determine influence of social media & peer groups in smoking among university students.

Methods: A cross-sectional study with mixed method approach and included students of two public and private students in Dhaka. Six hundred students were included in the study and sample size was calculated using fisher statistical formula with 95% confidence interval level and 5% precision/margin. A structured questionnaire was administered among equally distributed sampled students in all four universities for collecting the information. For the qualitative part, 12 in depth interviews were conducted with students using an interview schedule. Analyses were done for the descriptive statistics and tests of significance were performed to evaluate the associations between and within variables.

Result: Among 600 university students, the mean age of the students were 22 years and the prevalence of smoking was 34% among them 39% smoked daily. Students in sampled universities showed that 61% of them started smoking between the ages of 16-19 years. There is significant effect of peer group on initiation (46%) of smoking. The results also revealed that about half of the students used social media like Facebook (48%) and Youtube (47%). About 40% of the students started their smoking behavior while residing at hostel, mess or hall (dormitory). The smokers significantly liked more of the postings on smoking rather than other issues such as profile picture, video celebrity post, blog post, than the non-smokers (P<0.05). The results also indicated that there was significant association (P<0.01) between consumption of smoking and average hours spent with friends per day. The students interests to join and add their friends to social media groups which promoted smoking cessation were found to be significantly higher (P<0.05).

Conclusion: The study indicates the high prevalence of smoking cigarettes among the university students in Bangladesh and there is clear evidence of effect of social media and peer group on smoking. University students are likely to be active on social media, therefore, the platform may be used to reach this group with strategic tobacco control messages.


We thank the following individuals for their contributions to the design or development of the study procedures: Gias U Ahsan, Shahriar Hasan, Farina Tabassum, Sharif, Md Shamimul Islam, Jesmin Akhter, Miraj (Bangladesh). This research is supported by Bangladesh Center for Communication Programs (BCCP) in collaboration with the Institute for Global Tobacco Control at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA. The content of this article is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the BCCP.


Keywords (Social Media, Smoking, Tobacco, Facebook, Youtube)

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