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Smoking and Risk Taking in Recreational SCUBA Divers

Armstrong, ME; (2012) Smoking and Risk Taking in Recreational SCUBA Divers. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

SCUBA diving is inherently dangerous. Anecdotal reports suggest that risks may be exacerbated by diver behaviour, particularly tobacco smoking. This thesis reports findings from an internet survey of tobacco use, health and attitudes to risk taking conducted amongst UK members of the Professional Association of Diving Instructors in 2006. The main aims of the study were to assess smoking prevalence and factors associated with tobacco use compared to the UK population and to explore the health impact of smoking on divers, to determine the need for prevention measures in this group. After adjusting for socio-demographic factors, divers’ cigarette smoking prevalence (p<0.001) and consumption (p<0.001) were found to be lower than the UK population, although non-cigarette smoking prevalence was higher (p<0.001). Everyday risk taking scores were significantly associated with cigar or pipe use (p = 0.037) and higher cigarette consumption (p = 0.046) and dependence (p = 0.011) in current smokers. Divers with a professional recreational diving qualification who currently smoked had higher cigarette consumption (p = 0.001) and dependence (p = 0.001) compared with their non-professionally qualified peers. Recreational SCUBA divers were less likely to report poor general health than the UK population, but current cigarette smoking was significantly associated with poorer self-assessed health in divers (p = 0.006) after controlling for socio-demographic factors. After adjustment for confounding variables, current cigarette smoking was significantly associated with the occurrence of panic attacks (p = 0.014), which was significantly associated with lung problems (p = 0.016), and cigarette consumption was significantly associated with the frequency of diving-related illness (p = 0.037). In conclusion, although cigarette smoking prevalence and daily cigarette consumption were significantly lower in divers compared with the UK population, both were found to be associated with poorer health in important ways.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Smoking and Risk Taking in Recreational SCUBA Divers
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Pop Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1380402
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