Tobacco consumption among adolescents in rural Wardha: Where and how tobacco control should focus its attention?|
Dongre, AR; Deshmukh, PR; Murali, N & Garg, BS
Objectives: The objectives of the present study were to study the pattern of tobacco use among rural adolescents (15-19 years) and to find out reasons for use and non use of tobacco products.
Materials and Methods : In the present community-based research, triangulation of qualitative (free list, focus group discussions) and quantitative methods (survey) was undertaken. The study was carried out in surrounding 11 villages of the Kasturba Rural Health Training Centre, Anji during January 2008 where 385 adolescents were selected by simple random sampling and interviewed by house to house visits. After survey, six focus group discussions were undertaken with adolescent boys.
Results: About 68.3% boys and 12.4% girls had consumed any tobacco products in last 30 days. Out of boys who had consumed tobacco, 79.2% consumed kharra, and 46.4% consumed gutka. Among boys, 51.2% consumed it due to peer pressure, 35.2% consumed tobacco as they felt better, and five percent consumed tobacco to ease abdominal complaints and dental problem. Among girls, 72% used dry snuff for teeth cleaning, 32% and 20% consumed tobacco in the form of gutka and tobacco & lime respectively. The reasons for non use of tobacco among girls were fear of cancer (59%), poor oral health (37.9%). Among non consuming boys it was fear of cancer (58.6%), poor oral health (44.8%) and fear of getting addiction (29.3%). According to FGD respondents, few adolescent boys taste tobacco by 8-10 years of age, while girls do it by 12-13 years. Peer pressure acts as a pro tobacco influence among boys who are outgoing and spend more time with their friends. They prefer to consume freshly prepared kharra which was supposed to be less strong (tej) than gutka. Tobacco is being used in treatment of some health problems. Tobacco is chewed after meals for better digestion, given to ease toothache, pain in abdomen and to induce vomiting in suicidal insecticide poisoning.
Conclusion: The current consumption of any tobacco products among rural adolescents was found very high. Hence, the multi-pronged intervention strategy is needed to tackle the problem.
Adolescents, India, medicinal properties, rural setting, tobacco product use