Tobacco use and concurrent engagement in other risk behaviours: A public health challenge for occupational therapists

Matumo Catherine Ramafikeng, Galvaan Roshan, Seyi Ladele Amosun


Introduction: Occupational therapists are concerned about what people do and how that impacts their health and well-being. However,
occupational therapy contributions to the cessation and prevention of tobacco use remain limited. Tobacco use constitutes occupational
performance that poses a serious threat to health, well-being and quality of life. The purpose of this paper is to report the extent of tobacco use and discuss the nature of risk behaviours among high school learners in the city of Maseru, Lesotho.
Method: The paper draws on findings of a larger study that aimed to establish the prevalence of risk behaviours among high school learners in Lesotho. 1121 learners aged 12-27 years completed the Lesotho Youth Risk Behaviour Survey (LYRBS) in a school-based cross-sectional survey. STATA and Microsoft Excel we used for data analysis.
Results: The findings highlight the co-occurring and concurrent nature of risk behaviours, such as use of other substances, gambling and sexual behaviours with tobacco use dominating clusters of concurrent engagement.
Conclusion: Tobacco use is an occupation and a public health emergency that requires urgent attention from an early age. Delaying
early initiation of tobacco use could prevent engagement in other risk behaviours thereby avoiding associated health consequences. With
their understanding of occupation, occupational therapists can contribute immensely to interventions aimed at curbing engagement
in risk behaviours.

Key words: Health risk behaviours; Youth; Occupational performance; Lesotho Youth Risk Behaviour Survey (LYRBS); concurrent behaviours

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ISSN 0038-2337 (print), ISSN 2310-3833 (online)

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