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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 16  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 242-245

Perceptions and practice of tobacco use among adolescents of Mangalore city

Department of Public Health Dentistry, A. J Institute of Dental Sciences, Mangalore, Karnataka, India

Date of Submission01-Feb-2018
Date of Acceptance02-Jul-2018
Date of Web Publication6-Aug-2018

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Teenu Thomas
Department of Public Health Dentistry, A. J Institute of Dental Sciences, Kuntikana, Mangalore - 575 004, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jiaphd.jiaphd_39_18

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Background: Adolescence is a period, wherein teenagers try various mannerisms to acquire what best suits them. The Global Adult Tobacco Survey, India (2009–2010), reported that among the minors (15–17 years), 9.6% consumed tobacco in some form which cannot be ignored. Thus, there is an utmost need to protect the future generation from the gripping hands of tobacco and plan effective strategies to reduce its intake. Objectives: The aim of this study is to assess the perceptions and practice of tobacco use among the adolescent students of Mangalore city. Materials and Methods: A structured, close-ended questionnaire study was designed, and data on tobacco usage were collected from 407 students aged 15–17 years, studying in various preuniversity colleges of Mangalore city, who had enrolled in Tobacco Free Kids Campaign. Data obtained was analyzed using SPSS version 16.0, and descriptive statistics was applied. Results: Out of the 407 children, 102 (25%) have tried cigarette smoking, while 7.9% have tried smokeless tobacco. Almost 14.3% of them attempted to buy tobacco products and the shopkeepers sold it to them. A major proportion of the adolescents, 81.1% of them, believe that smoking can definitely cause harm to health, while 66.1% of them were aware about the harmful effects of passive smoking. About 73.7% were in favor of the idea of banning smoking in all enclosed public places. Conclusions: The adolescent students of Mangalore city are relatively well aware of the ill effects of tobacco, but a small proportion of them still use tobacco in some form which cannot be ignored.

Keywords: Adolescent, awareness, cigarette smoking, smokeless tobacco, tobacco use

How to cite this article:
George RM, Thomas T. Perceptions and practice of tobacco use among adolescents of Mangalore city. J Indian Assoc Public Health Dent 2018;16:242-5

How to cite this URL:
George RM, Thomas T. Perceptions and practice of tobacco use among adolescents of Mangalore city. J Indian Assoc Public Health Dent [serial online] 2018 [cited 2022 Jul 7];16:242-5. Available from: https://www.jiaphd.org/text.asp?2018/16/3/242/238585

  Introduction Top

Tobacco use is an epidemic incapacitating the modern youth and an estimated total of 82,000–99,000 children all worldwide start smoking any given day.[1] Chronic tobacco usage can be attributed to any abrupt and immature decision to experiment tobacco during the early adolescent period.[1] An overwhelming majority of smokers start using tobacco before the age of 19.[2] Even single experimentations have a 50% chance for developing into an addiction[3] and stay proximate till late adult life.[1] The chances for early adoption, its gateway effect leading to more serious drugs,[4] along with the challenges associated in prescribing a standard withdrawal, makes it one of the major cause of death globally.[5] Tobacco has the strength to kill 250 million of children today[6] in the current swing and a person every 6.5 sec globally.[7]

The Global Adult Tobacco Survey, India (2009–2010) reported that among the minors (15–17 years), 9.6% consumed tobacco in some form which cannot be ignored.[8] An estimated total of 5500 adolescents start using tobacco everyday in India.[1] The WHO predicts that deaths due to tobacco habits in India may exceed 1.5 million annually by 2020.[9] Refraining from the use of tobacco can add 20 years to the life of a teenager. Thus, understanding the burden of tobacco use among the adolescents helps in formulation of effective control measures targeting them.[10]

When implemented together, various national, state, and local program activities have shown to reduce and prevent tobacco usage. There are certain social and environmental factors such as religious participation and racial or ethnic pride, which are related to reduced smoking levels among youth. There are also evidences linking youth-smoking with depression, anxiety, and stress.[11] Among the youth, students are more vulnerable to substance abuse as a faulty coping mechanism for dealing with increasing academic stress, uncertain career paths, or peer pressure.[12]

According to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey for Karnataka, (2009–2010), the average age for initiation into daily usage of tobacco is 18.7 years.[13] The state is also credited as one of the most growing tobacco usage hotspot with 28.2% of the population addicted to its daily usage.[13]

Development of an effective strategy to curb tobacco intake requires a deep understanding of the factors responsible for initiating this habit.[7] We were also motivated by a recent study, which reported that 98% of undergraduate medical students, aged 19–21, in a private medical college of Mangalore city, never had any training in tobacco cessation in their curriculum.[12]

Hence, this study was undertaken to estimate the prevalence and practice of tobacco use among the adolescent students of Mangalore city, thereby aiming to provide timely interventions to prevent any initial experimentations with tobacco from developing into an addiction in adulthood.

  Materials and Methods Top

A cross-sectional questionnaire study was conducted among adolescent students studying in three preuniversity colleges enrolled in Tobacco-Free Kids Campaign organized by A.J. Institute of Dental Sciences, Mangalore.

All the students in the age group of 15–17 years who were present on the days of the campaign were included. Universal sampling was followed and study population thus obtained had 407 students. The study commenced after obtaining permission from Institutional Ethical Committee (AJEC/REV/52/2017) and administrative heads of the respective colleges. The purpose of the study was explained to the students, before the questionnaires were administered. An informed verbal consent was also taken from students before distribution of questionnaires to them and participation by the participants was totally voluntary. The identity of the study participants was not included in the questionnaire form so that the students could respond without any hesitations and also to ensure maximum reliable results. The structured, self-administered questionnaire which was used for the study [Table 1] was constructed using literature reviews of previous studies in the same field. All the 20 questions were close ended, and there was no skip pattern so that all questions were to be answered. Piloting was conducted before the actual data collection surveys in order to improve the questionnaire's content and necessary changes were made accordingly.
Table 1: Questions regarding perceptions and practice of study participants

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Data was analyzed using SPSS Version 16.0. (SPSS Inc, Chicago, USA) and descriptive statistics which included percentages and frequencies were applied.

  Results Top

Among the 407 students who participated in the study, 25.1% have ever tried smoking and 7.9% have tried smokeless form of tobacco although just for experimentation. Despite the legislation banning the sale of tobacco products to the minors, 14.3% of the participants reported that the shopkeepers readily sold them tobacco products, when they tried to buy it. It is comforting to find that 82.8% of them did not buy or try to buy tobacco products. A majority of the students, 89.2% of them, were reported themselves as current nonsmokers, while 10.8% reported current usage of cigarettes as well as smokeless tobacco.

Parental use of tobacco was assessed among the participants, wherein 82.3% of the students' immediate family members were not into the habit. When asked whether the students would smoke/chew tobacco if offered by their best friends, 72.2% reported that they would refrain from the habit, while a 5.2% of them were definitely sure of taking up the habit if their friends' insist.

300 (73.7%) students were in favor of banning tobacco in all enclosed places(no exception), 54 (13.3%) were in favor of banning tobacco in all enclosed places (with exception), whereas 53 (13%) supported no ban on tobacco.

22 (5.4%) students perceived that there will be weight gain and 282 (69.3%) students perceived that there will be loss of weight with tobacco usage. 57 (14%) students perceived that smoking makes them look more attractive and 251 (61.7%) perceived that smoking makes them look less attractive [Table 2].
Table 2: Percentage of user answers for various questions

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The students' awareness about passive smoking was analyzed by asking whether they thought smoke from another person's cigarette was harmful. Around 83.1% of the study participants thought, it harmful to inhale the smoke from another's cigarette [Graph 1].

  Discussion Top

According to the present study, 10.9% of study participants admitted that they were current users of tobacco products, which is in accordance with study conducted by Mohan et al.,[14] in Kerala state. The Global Youth Tobacco Survey Karnataka[15] and Jayakrishnan et al.[16] reported a lower prevalence of tobacco usage among adolescents.

Vuckovic et al.[17] and Sharma et al.[18] found that parental smoking role models, peer influence, and the desire to fit in with peers can be attributed as the major reasons for start of adolescent smoking. In the present study, 7.4% students reported tobacco usage by their parents, while 3.7% reported usage by their siblings. This is contradictory to alarming prevalence stated by Gupta et al.[7] in his study where 71% of students' immediate family members used tobacco products. Multani et al.,[19] Makanwala et al.,[3] Singh et al.,[1] and Shashidhar et al.[15] have also reported a positive relation with smoking and peer or parental influence in their studies.

The laws prohibiting the sale of tobacco products to the minors[20] seem to have been openly flouted. Around 14% of the students reported that the shopkeepers readily sold them tobacco products in this study, which is in concurrence with a study conducted by Madan et al.[9]

In the present study, only 14% of the adolescents thought that smoking makes them more attractive and 69.3% were positive that smoking can lead to weight loss. Although, 41% of the participants believed smoking makes them more attractive according to Mohanan et al.;[21] in other studies by Gupta et al.[7] and Dereje et al.,[22] majority of participants disagreed to the statement that smoking makes them more attractive, which is affirmative of current results.

Global Adult Tobacco Survey results suggest that the prevalence of those exposed to passive smoking is too high in Karnataka, with 44.3% of adults at home and 37.2% in public places exposed to it.[13] Majority of the students-87% were in favor of banning smoking at all enclosed places. Similar results were observed by Jayakrishnan et al.,[16] Dereje et al.[22] and VyasandPatel.[23]

Limitations of the study

Although piloting was done to test the content validity of the questionnaire, it was not tested statistically. The small sample size of the study cannot be considered as a representative of the adolescent population.

  Conclusion and Recommendations Top

The adolescent students of Mangalore city are well aware of the ill effects of tobacco, but a small proportion of them use tobacco in some form which cannot be ignored.

Enabling teachers to educate their students in the local language regularly, regarding tobacco usage should be an important step to prevent addiction.

Timely intervention among students can prevent the initial experimentations with tobacco from developing into addiction in adulthood. Restrictions in public places as well as at homes will enable to curb tobacco use by children and adolescents.

Integration of tobacco control programs with other healthcare programs can yield significant results, in the pursuit for a tobacco-free world. Various national, state, and local program activities when implemented together have shown to reduce and prevent youth tobacco intake. The following can be considered in pursuit of a tobacco-free nation such as the prohibition of indoor smoking, involvement of religious leaders in anti-tobacco program, community programs for tobacco counseling and cessation, strict enforcement of Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act laws, and conducting special training programs for teachers and counseling for students in schools.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

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  [Table 1], [Table 2]


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