Factors Leading to the Initiation of Smokeless Tobacco Use Among Adolescents
Anand Kumar Agarwal, Swatantra Kumar, Manisha Agarwal*, Nalini Tripathi**, Vandana Patel***
Department of Pediatrics, **Department of Dentistry and ***Child Psychologist, Hind Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow, *Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Muzzafarnagar Medical College, Muzzafarnagar, India.
Abstract

Tobacco addiction of a large number of adults has been initiated during the adolescence. The most recent Government of India's National Sample Survey data shows that there are 184 million tobacco consumers in India. About 40% of them use smokeless tobacco (ST). It's been medically proven that prolonged use of chewing tobacco can lead to oral cancer and other oral diseases. Considering the enormous health implications associated with tobacco use, this study was designed to find out the prevalence and the linkage of the demographic and psychological factors to the ST use in adolescents of India.

Material & Methods: Eight hundred and seven higher secondary school children aged 12-18 years were surveyed by using an anonymous pre-tested self-report questionnaire. The prevalence and the linkage of the demographic & psychological factors to ST use in adolescents of Western Uttar Pradesh, India was determined.

Results: In the present study, the prevalence rate for ST was found to 40.3%, which is influenced from parents and teachers. The children are aware of the habit being bad and harmful but still continue it. Poor academic performance, prolonged TV watch, amount of pocket money and the place (neighborhood) are found to be factors associated.

Conclusion: Adolescents who are exposed to influences from parents (father) or teachers in school acquire the habit of ST use. The study highlights certain factors which can form basis for early intervention targeting vulnerable group of adolescents thus identified, to prevent or discourage them from picking up the habit so that this does not progress to become addiction into adulthood thus paving way for diseases in adulthood.
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