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  • Author: Miracle Ayomikun Adesina x
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Background: Symbols play a very crucial role in the culture of a society, and the medical society is not an exception to this. In the world of Orthodox medicine, the Rod of Asclepius is regarded as the true symbol of medicine. However, there exists to be an issue of interchange of the correct medical symbol (i.e. Rod of Asclepius) with another similar symbol (i.e. the Caduceus). This study aims to explore medical students’ knowledge and opinion on the appropriate symbol of medicine.

Methods: This study was a cross-sectional survey of 84 medical students at the Usmanu Danfodiyo University (UDU), North-West Nigeria. Study tool was a paper questionnaire. The collected data were analyzed using the Epi info 7 Software.

Results: The mean (±SD) age of the participants was 23.7 (±3.4) years, 72.6% were males, and 73.8% were in their 4th year. Only 59.5% had interest in non-medical literature. Also, only 6.0% had doctors as their parents. The majority (88.1%) of the participants erroneously identified the Caduceus symbol as the most appropriate symbol of medicine. Furthermore, only 45.2% indicated that the Rod of Asclepius and the Caduceus symbols originated from ancient Greece. Virtually all (97.6%) the participants opined that the Caduceus symbol is the most popular symbol of Medicine. Finally, the majority (73.8%) of the participants recommended that a course on the History of Medicine should be added to the medical curriculum of their school.

Conclusion: This study found that the majority of the surveyed medical students did not know much about the historically correct medical symbol. This shows the need for awareness creation on the true symbol of medicine among medical students, and even the public-at-large.


Background: Tobacco smoking is an addictive behavior with heavy risks accompanying its prolonged practice. Unfortunately, more and more people are indulging in tobacco smoking habits despite the public health education programs going on worldwide about the dangers associated with tobacco smoking behavior. This study aims to survey active shisha smokers in Birnin Kebbi Local Government Area (LGA), Kebbi State, Nigeria, on the awareness of the harmful effects associated with shisha smoking.

Methods: This study was a survey of 45 active shisha smokers in Birnin Kebbi LGA. Snowballing technique was adopted in participants’ recruitment. Study instrument was a questionnaire. Data collected was analyzed using SPSS version 20 software.

Results: Majority (32/45) of the participants were males, 16 had secondary school education, and 19 were within age range of 15 to 24 years. The majority (25/45) of them began to smoke shisha at the age of 18 years or more; also, 20 participants smoked shisha in all the 30 days prior to their participation in this study. Less than half of the study participants knew that: shisha is a stimulant (6/45), shisha smoke contains carbon monoxide (10/45), and the liquid in shisha could be replaced with alcohol (15/45). However, more than half of the participants knew that shisha contains nicotine (23/45) and tobacco (25/45). Only 16, 13, 11, 9, 5, 10, and 13 participants knew that shisha smoking could lead to cancer, cardiovascular diseases, increase in the risk of infections, reduced baby weight in pregnancy, gum and mouth disease, eye disease and blindness, and harm to non-smokers, respectively.

Conclusion: Many of the active shisha smokers surveyed in this study began smoking shisha at a young age. Also, a significant proportion of them were unaware of the health hazards associated with shisha use; hence the need to educate them and even the Nigerian public on the dangers associated with shisha use.



To explore the reasons why shisha smokers indulge in shisha smoking habit, and to also explore their attitudes towards quitting shisha smoking habit


A total of 45 current shisha smokers participated in the study. The study tool was a paper questionnaire. Snowballing technique was the sampling method adopted in the recruitment of study participants. Data obtained was analyzed using the SPSS version 20 software


The mean (±SD) age of the participants was 25.8 (±5.5) years and majority (71.1%) of them were males. The top two reasons why the participants smoke shisha were: “for pleasure” (40%); and “to feel among” (33.3%). The majority (66.7%) of the participants wanted to quit shisha smoking habits. However, only 54.5% (18/33) of them indicated that they made efforts at quitting the behavior within the past one year. Also, only 66.7% (28/42) and 65.6% (21/32) of those participants who had a close friend and a close family member/relative that smoke shisha, respectively, wanted to quit shisha smoking habit


This study shows diverse reasons why shisha smokers engage in shisha smoking habit. Also, many of these smokers were willing to quit shisha smoking habits but, unfortunately, they are yet to quit the habit. This demonstrates the need for social support of shisha smokers in our environment towards quitting shisha smoking habit