Oral cancer is one of the most health problems worldwide. Many factors have been linked to the etiology of oral cancer including tobacco use. In recent years, cigarette smoking is regarded as epidemic in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), particularly among youth.
the aims of this study was to determine the prevalence of cigarette smoking among medical students and to assess the oral epithelium proliferative activity (cytological atypia if any) that associated with the habit of smoking.
In a cross-sectional survey, 379 medical students from College of Applied Medical Sciences at University of Hail, KSA, were interviewed for smoking habit. Of 379/137 (87 were smokers and 50 were non-smokers) responded to oral brush samples. Buccul cells were obtained and stained using Pap. method.
The prevalence of the smokers among students was found to be 22.9%. Mild degree of cytological atypia was identified among 8/87(9.2%) smokers and none of the non-smokers. The risk of increased proliferative activity and 95% confidence level was found to be significant P < 0.02. Inflammatory infiltrate was detected among 21/87( 24.13%%) of the smokers and 7/50(14%) of the none smokers P < 0.005).
Smoking is prevalent among medical Saudi students. Cigarette Smoking is a risk factor that causes the oral epithelium to undergo proliferative changes which may develop in to oral dysplasia and cancer, even in young individuals. Strict control measures are highly recommended to reduce the burden of tobacco use among general youth at the age of university.