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Análise Psicológica

versão impressa ISSN 0870-8231


GUERRA, Marina Prista et al. O consumo de tabaco numa instituição universitária: Prevalência e características do fumador. Aná. Psicológica [online]. 2008, vol.26, n.2, pp.209-226. ISSN 0870-8231.

Cigarette smoking has been considered one of the great enemies to public health, as well as one of the hardest to change human behaviors. For many smokers, the association between the physiological nicotine dependence and the habit of smoking makes it harder to overcome the abstinence symptoms. It has been widely investigated the partial contribution of neurobiological processes of nicotine dependence to the reduced rates of long term smoking cessation found in longitudinal studies. Considering the smoking restriction policy that has been adopted for the last two years in the Faculty of Psychology and Sciences of Education of the University of Oporto, in Portugal (FPCE-UP) and which was implemented nationwide only recently (in 2008), the present study aimed at: analyzing the prevalence of smoking in this institution; characterizing the smokers’ sample as to the number of cigarettes smoked and duration of smoking habits through cigarette pack-years (CPY); comparing former smokers to current smokers who were abstinent for some period in the past, as to the maximum abstinence time and number of cessation attempts. The content analysis of open questions lead to the formulation of more qualitative objectives: to identify the reasons why former smokers have maintained abstinent; to identify the abstinence symptoms felt by current smokers who stopped smoking sometime in the past; to identify the smokers’ motives for smoking cessation attempts at some period in their lives; and, finally, to identify the motives for relapse. The questionnaires were administered via the Internet to the universe of students, teachers and staff of FPCE-UP. A total sample of 289 subjects was obtained. Higher prevalence of cigarette smoking (29,4%) was found, comparatively with other Portuguese studies, mainly in what concerns distribution by gender (Men: 44%; Women: 27.3%) and institutional situation (teacher: 30%; student: 28.6%). The smokers’ characterization revealed a CPY of 6.9. No significant statistical differences were found between current smokers who were abstinent for some time and smokers who were never abstinent as to the smoking patterns. Significant statistical differences were found between former smokers and current smokers who were abstinent for some time, as to the maximum abstinence time achieved, but not as to the number of cessation attempts. 88.5% of former smokers mentioned feeling better after having quit smoking, pointing out immediate health benefits. An interesting result was that 50% of the same group mentioned a sense of freedom and/or self-control after having quit smoking. Among the current smokers who have already tried quitting, 74% describe abstinence symptoms in more than one category, being mood disturbances (81.2%) and psychosomatic symptoms (37.5%) the more frequent complaints. The main motives pointed out by smokers for having tried to quit smoking were: information regarding the prejudicial effects of tobacco (60%) and illness (28%). As far of the motives for relapse are concerned, 52% pointed out the persistence of unpleasant symptoms, 24% the pleasure of smoking and 24% social pressure. Results were discussed according to current theoretical models of intervention in nicotine dependence.

Palavras-chave : Smoking; prevalence; relapse; cessation.

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